ALBURY Thunder coach Josh Cale believes his team has done everything possible to negate a tricky 21-day break ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster Group 9 major semi-final against Southcity at Greenfield Park.
Although Cale said the match had been a “long time coming” courtesy of the reigning premier’s final round bye, the big forward was preferring to concentrate on the positives which included fielding a full-strength line-up.
“We have done a lot of contact work and tried to keep it as close to a game as you can,” Cale said.
“You are never going to simulate a proper game as it’s nothing like playing, but we have worked hard and there are no excuses.
“It has given us time to get our injuries right which has been good.
“It would have been nice to play a game in there somewhere but there is not much we can do about it and you just play with the cards you have been dealt.
“We are just getting on with the job.”
The break has enabled key trio Cale, Jake Grace and Ben Jeffery to overcome niggles from Albury’s last match on August 25 while hooker Mark Walsham looks set to play when he appeared doubtful a week ago.
Thunder went through a searching training session at Greenfield Park last Saturday morning before hoping on the bus and travelling to Wagga to watch the Bulls beat Gundagai.
Cale wants his team to follow the same game plan it has successfully followed all season.
“We are just going to have to control the ball and keep it as basic as we can,” he said.
“We can’t afford to cough up the ball or we will be under the pump.
“Southcity are a very disciplined and fit side.
“They don’t go away and will fight it out for the 80 minutes.
“We will have to have all hands on deck on Sunday.”
Southcity has an injury cloud hanging over Nathan Rose who went down with an ankle injury against the Tigers, while Pani Manawatu is racing against time to recover from a neck injury.
The match starts at 3pm.