ALBURY Thunder coach Josh Cale believes his team will have to unleash one of its best performances to bring down Cootamundra in tomorrow’s clash at Cootamundra.
With Fisher Park a graveyard for Border teams, Cale said it would take a five-star effort to return with the points.
“I think we have had one win and a draw up there in the past 30 years,” Cale said yesterday.
“No matter where they are sitting on the ladder they are hard to beat.
“They seem to get up for us.
“We will have to be on our toes.”
Albury defeated Cootamundra at Fisher Park in 2012 before going down to Mark Elia’s line-up 36-28 early last season.
The teams played a draw in 2009 when playmaker Joe Williams missed an after the siren kick for goal from the sideline by inches.
Cale said Thunder couldn’t afford to get in a shootout with the Bulldogs.
“They are pretty dangerous,” he said.
“We don’t want to get in a try for try game because they love that.
“Defence will be the key.
“It’s something we pride ourselves on and it’s been pretty good lately.”
The Bulldogs are being led superbly by frontrower Grant Boyd.
Boyd has had some epic battles with the Albury forwards in recent years, but appears outnumbered with Thunder having more depth in Mitch Davis, Andrew Cowhan and Joe Silafua.
Cootamundra must also overcome the absence of prop Luke Berkrey (cracked sternum) and hooker Grant Miller (leg).
“They are good players, but we know they will still be hard to beat,” Cale said.
An injury-hit Junee will battle to bring down Wagga Kangaroos in Wagga.
The Diesels have withdrawn their team from the reserve grade competition and interim coach Terry Sloan will be looking to limit the damage in first grade as much as possible in the remaining rounds.
Southcity will be too strong for Tumut at Tumut and Temora is a chance of upsetting Young at Temora.