ON paper the Steamers are odds-on favourites but coach Mick Raynes says its the most important game of the year, the result very much in the balance.
With just two rounds remaining in the home and away season the Steamers head to the CSU campus at Wagga today to play Ag College in the first of a Blair and Walsh Cup double header.
Their immediate rivals for a top-two spot and the double chance in the finals will follow directly after that with CSU up against the rampaging Griffith.
Albury is second on the ladder on 47 points, one clear of Griffith and three points in front of Reddies.
Mick Raynes said the Steamers only focus was their game at 2pm.
“This is the most important game of our season — the only thing we are focusing on at the moment is Saturday,” he said.
“We know that we have to put 80 minutes of solid, passionate football together.
“We have shown that we can run the ball but we need to be better at the clean out.”
Ash Lefevre is the only injury concern for the Steamers, a “corkie” three weeks ago leaving him on the watch list.
Raynes said he was not reading anything into Ag College’s recent poor form.
Ag College has lost its pastfour matches, the Steamers thumping CSU at today’s venue just three weeks ago.
The Steamers put on 26 points in the last 20 minutes to beat Ag College 40-26 at Murrayfield earlier in the year.
“They believe, and rightly so, that we got out of jail against them at home,” Raynes said.
“They were the better team for 60 or 70 minutes of that game — if we play like that again we would need another miracle to win.
“I know they haven’t been great lately but Aggies build their game around a solid group of forwards — three of their players were in the Brumbies Provincial team.
“We need to be better and will hope the entire pack follows the lead of the likes of Ryan Schischka, Tom Rowan and Col Hogan — get in and do the grunt work.”
The Steamers will head to Griffith for the last game of the home and away season next weekend and a match that is likely to decide second spot.