Blacks plan hostile welcome

Ash Lefevre drags two Griffith players along for the ride in the Steamers’ 34-11 win over the Blacks at Murrayfield in mid June. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Ash Lefevre drags two Griffith players along for the ride in the Steamers’ 34-11 win over the Blacks at Murrayfield in mid June. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

THE Steamers will face a hostile reception when they make the 2½-hour road trip to Griffith for the final game of the home and away season on Saturday.

The Blacks have already broken a 12-year hoodoo by locking themselves into the top four in the Walsh and Blair Cup.

But at stake is second spot on the ladder and the double chance in the finals.

Griffith goes into the game on the back of a six-game winning streak, including scoring an unanswered 33 points in the demolition of CSU last week.

Adding to an already parochial crowd will be the club’s sponsors day at the Coro Club Oval.

But coach Seru Rogo said the pressure was off.

“We set ourselves to play finals at the start of the year and we achieved that last weekend,” he said.

“We go into this game knowing we will play finals and whatever happens, happens.”

Rogo admitted the Blacks suffered a mid-season slump through lack of planning.

“We won our first four and then a few of our key players were injured and we really didn’t have a plan B,” he said.

“It all fell apart through that time but with their return we started winning again.”

Rogo said Griffith would add openside flanker Andries De Meyer to the squad this weekend and keeper former Fijian international Dan Rawaqa at flyhalf in a mouth-watering match-up against last year’s best player in Steamers five-eighth Richie Manion.

But Rojo downplayed his star-studded backline saying Saturday’s game would be won in the forwards.

“We have an outstanding backline but unless our forwards are going forward they won’t get the room to play their game,” he said.

“I’ve given up on giving the backs instructions — they play their own way, they do things with the ball that you can’t coach.

“I’m not about to stop them doing that.”

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