LAKE Albert will go into the weekend at full-strength for the first time this season and could not have timed it better as a clash against their arch-rival awaits.
Lake Albert will take on Henwood Park at Rawlings Park on Sunday, weather permitting, when Wagga's top two Pascoe Cup teams go head-to-head.
There is never any shortage of feeling in games between the two clubs and both team's ladder position only adds to the important of this meeting.
Lake Albert sit in third spot, just one point ahead of the Hawks. Adding importance to the fixture is that fifth-placed Young is only three points further back, stalking for a spot in the top four.
Lake Albert co-coach Chris Ayton believes the Sharks will be full-strength for this weekend's round, something he has been eagerly anticipating for a while.
"We should be at full-strength this weekend. We did have a couple of guys who were under injury clouds last weekend but it was all but precautionary because we were playing Cootamundra," Ayton said.
"I'm fairly sure they are good to go for this weekend. It is good because we haven't had our full strength side out there all year so this would be the first time, if we did have it. We've been building nicely so it would be good to see all the boys out there and get some game time together."
Henwood Park expect to go in at full-strength too, with co-coach Matt Menser expecting to be right after injuring his quad in the win over Wagga United a fortnight ago.
"I don't really know to be honest because we haven't been able to train," Menser said.
"I should play some part. It's been two weeks. I would like to, I don't see myself not playing."
Henwood Park were 3-0 winners when the two teams met earlier in the season. It is a result that doesn't sit overly well with the Sharks.
"We were bitterly disappointed with the game in the first round," Ayton said.
"In saying that, we were trialing people in different positions, we still didn't have our full squad set to where we need to be but at this point now, we have our full strength squad and they are set in the positions they need them to if there was a grand final to be played in three weeks time. It's a lot different scenario for us on that front.
"But to be fair, I thought we had the better squad out there the first time around. Without having all the boys in the right positions across the park and being a really new team but I suppose they were in the same boat as well. That's probably why it was more disappointing, we did have the better squad and to be fair, the better parts of the game and the better chances in the game, we just couldn't put it to bed."
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Menser said the Hawks won't be looking too much into last time.
"Yes and no. They were probably missing a couple, it was quite early in the season, you probably can't read much into it," Menser said.
"Every time we play them it's close, it could always go either way. The scoreline flattered us from the first time. It's always a lot closer."
Regardless of last time, Menser is well aware of the importance of this time.
"It's a really big game for us. We've lost every other team in and around them and I'm sure after we beat them the first time, they won't want to lose to us a second time," he said.
"It's really important for us, and for them, to be honest. Everyone when you're playing each other in that top five, you've got to get points."
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