KANGAROOS coach Ben Jeffery says it will be business as usual when he lines up against Albury Thunder for the first time at Greenfield Park on Sunday.
After starring in three Thunder premierships, Jeffery stepped down as coach at the end of last season after falling out with sections of the committee.
Jeffery said he was looking forward to making amends for last weekend’s 28-all draw against Brothers after Kangaroos led 28-12.
Dave Cowhan keeps telling me he’s going to bust me. He’ll have to strap those big ears down.Ben Jeffery
“We haven’t been travelling the best,” he said.
“I think we are better than the results are showing to be honest.
“It’s a young team and a rebuild year for the club and we’re learning as we go.
“Albury is going quite well.
“They are big and mobile and, if they play the right kind of footy, they will be hard to beat and I reckon they can knock off some of those top teams.”
Asked if he expected to come in for some extra attention from his former Albury teammates, Jeffery replied: “Dave Cowhan keeps telling me he’s going to bust me.
“He’ll have to strap those big ears down.
“I still know a lot of the boys like ‘Smithy’ (Andrew Smith), Levi (Freeman), Dave, ‘Huggy’ (Jon Huggett), Lachie (Hampton) and ‘Seffa’ (Joe Silafau).
“It will be a tough game.”
Jeffery starred in his return from a torn calf against Brothers last weekend and will be desperate to turn in another of the displays which made him a crowd favourite for five years at Greenfield Park.
He will play at five-eighth with the dangerous Tristan Dickson at fullback.
“It’s a young team so I’m trying to steer the ship around,” he said.
“Tristan Dickson is absolute lightning.”
Thunder face another reshuffle with Shannon Rupapere sidelined for three months with a shoulder injury and Cowhan batting a knee problem.
Cowhan has been replaced in the Riverina side to play Monara on Saturday by teammate Jye Thompson.
Hampton is likely to play at fullback with Bronson Meehan expected to be given more game time on a wing.
Jeffery said it was important to play 80 minutes against Albury.
“Last week we were 28-12 and finished with a draw and that’s just the inexperience we have in our side,” he said.
“We tried the big plays when we didn’t need to.
“It’s all a learning curve.
“At least the next time when we get into that situation we should think twice.”
Brothers will battle to contain Southcity, Temora host Gundagai, Tumbarumba take on Junee and Tumut host Young.