Town rivals ready for combat
ANOTHER instalment of the Emerald rugby league derby is fast approaching, with finals on the horizon.
The Emerald Tigers and Emerald Brothers senior men's squads will face off in round 14 of the Purcell Engineering Men's Premiership.
Emerald Tigers president Jay Edwards said his side was ready to go and injuries wouldn't hold them back.
"The game between Tigers and Brothers is always a big game and we get up for it every year,” Edwards said.
"The boys are keen, we are getting through a few injuries and away but we'll be up for it next week.”
The Tigers have an idea of what to expect from this year's Brothers outfit after beating them 26-14 back in round five.
"They got off to a cracker at the start of the season, with a few wins in a row,” Edwards said.
"Having played them once already this season, you know what you're going to get with Brothers.
"They've got a young and enthusiastic side who aren't afraid to throw the ball around and they'll keep coming all day.”
Emerald Brothers president Eddie Ross pointed out that when last they met the Tigers they were short some players, which affected the result.
"We were missing a few players,” Ross said.
"We have a few key players that will take time off work to have a couple of good training runs.
"There wasn't much in it, I don't think the score reflected the game.”
With the majority of his team under the age of 24, Ross liked to use his side's youth and speed to their advantage.
"Their youth keeps them going,” Ross said.
"We've got more speed.
"If we can move that ball around with our speedsters then we'll have them worried.
"Every game all year they (Brothers) fight to the end.
"There's always been the passion there in a Tigers and Brothers derby.
"We definitely like our chances.”
Despite what their previous scoreline might suggest, Edwards believed that heading into this clash the two sides were closer than many might think.
"Even 'til the last 10 minutes in our game against them earlier this year they were still well in it,” Edwards said.
"Had a couple of things went the other way, they definitely could've beat us.”
The Tigers sit in third place on the table, a game ahead of the Brothers in fourth.
Edwards reckoned his side had been tracking ok and had room to grow ahead of a potential deep finals campaign.
"We've been cruising along all right,” Edwards said.
"We just haven't put our best team on the paddock for the big games and haven't executed well enough to be up in that first or second spot.
"We're mid range in the pack at the moment and we've got a lot to improve on before the finals hopefully.”
With the top four cemented heading into the twilight of the regular season fixtures, Brothers see this clash as an opportunity to build momentum heading into finals.
"Unfortunately with the bye this week (round 13), we get two points and can't get in front of the Tigers on the ladder,” Ross said.
"We will be playing Tigers in the first semi-final probably so for our boys to go into that game positively would be good with a win next weekend.
"Get them (Brothers) on the front foot and with confidence.”
This weekend, the Emerald Brothers have a bye while the Emerald Tigers face the undefeated and ladder-leading Dysart Bulls in Dysart.
Kick-off is 5.30pm, August 3, from McIndoe Park.