Wingham Tigers to clash with Sharks in minor semi-final

Wingham hope electrifying fullback Matt Bridge will cause the Port Macquarie defence plenty of problems during the minor semi-final at Wingham on Saturday.

Wingham hope electrifying fullback Matt Bridge will cause the Port Macquarie defence plenty of problems during the minor semi-final at Wingham on Saturday.

WINGHAM need to be more patient with the ball if they are going to overcome Port Macquarie in the Group Three Rugby League minor semi-final at Wingham on Saturday.

That’s the opinion of captain-coach Danny Russell.

The Tigers lost to Wauchope 17-16 in extra time last weekend while the Sharks overwhelmed Old Bar in the elimination match 42-16 the previous day.

Russell said his team needs to have more respect for the football and play a percentage game.

“We have to stop trying to score every time we have the ball,’’ Russell said.

“We need to be more patient – grubber the ball behind the line, get a line drop and keep the pressure on them.’’

He said the Tigers recovered from the preliminary semi-final without any injury problems.

“There were a few bumps and bruises, but nothing serious. We won’t have any changes from last week,’’ he said.

Russell added the players are getting over the disappointment of the extra time loss.

“There were a few comments like, 'if we’d done this or done that,’ but we have to forget that,’’ he said.

“The bounce of the ball goes that way sometimes – that’s football.’’

Port Macquarie scored two comfortable wins over the Tigers in the competition-proper. 

“We had a few out the first round and they put a score on us,’’ Russell said.

“And we had five players backing up from having a full game in reserves the second. But we can put those games behind us now and concentrate on getting one back on them.’’

Russell said the Tigers will have to shutdown Port on the edges.

“(Matt) Shipway’s been dangerous for them and we have to cut down the amount of ball their centre, Willy Baker gets,’’ he said.

However, he added the Tigers were strong in defence in the clash against Wauchope, limiting the Blues to two tries – with one from a kick.

Wingham’s side is: Matt Bridge; Michael Bailey, Joel Wilson, Brodie Myer, Fletcher Lewis; Danny Price, Danny Russell; Blake Fraser, Mitch Collins, Nick Beacham, Jake Mullen, Michael Rees, Brendan Butler. Interchange Beau Collins, Tyler Atkins, Joel Kliendienst, Lonny Clarke, Brendan Clarke, Jesse Pietizak.

Meanwhile Wauchope will check the fitness of centre Beau White and five-eighth Aaron Ison before finalising the side for Sunday’s major semi-final against minor premiers Port City.