TUMBARUMBA coach Aaron Sweeney is expecting more fireworks when the Green Machine takes on arch-enemy Albury Thunder in Group 9 rugby league at Greenfield Park today.
In their first meeting since last year’s spiteful clash at Tumbarumba, Sweeney said yesterday his team couldn’t afford to be intimidated by Josh Cale’s imposing forward pack.
“I would say there will be fireworks,” Sweeney said.
“It’s going to be a hard battle up front.
“Our forwards have been pretty good, beating Gundagai at Gundagai the other week was good.
“Albury has a good pack.”
Sweeney and Cale were sin-binned in last year’s clash at Tumbarumba Showgrounds and had to be separated by officials as they were escorted to the changerooms during the second half.
The Greens’ coach was also given 10 minutes against Southcity last weekend.
Tumbarumba has been on the receiving end of some fearful hidings from Albury in recent seasons with the Greens’ last victory coming at the Tumbarumba Showgrounds in 2008.
Since then, Albury has averaged 52 points a game and conceded just seven against its old Group 13 rival.
But Sweeney said there was reason for optimism in the hills.
“The way we have been going we are a chance,” he said.
“It’s going to be a tough game though.
“Albury has been the best team going around for the past two or three years.
“We have had a good month and are enjoying playing with each other.”
Sweeney said star Thunder fullback Ben Jeffery loomed as his team’s biggest threat.
“The boys have said Ben Jeffery is the main man to stop,” he said.
“He’s always dangerous.
“They say there is no tougher game than Albury in Albury.
“This will be the first time I have played there but we’re looking forward to it.”
Albury will regain Riverina representative Mitch Davis from a shoulder injury after a fortnight off while Lou Goodwin, Jake Grace, Joe Silafau, Adam Coote and Andrew Cowhan should also make their presence felt up the middle of the ground.
Play starts at 2.30pm.