BULLS COMING GOOD SAYS SKINNER
By Les Muir
YOU ain’t seen nothing yet – Southcity captain-coach Nick Skinner has put the Group Nine premiership on notice.
With nine rounds down and nine to go, Skinner has no doubt the second half of the competition will carry Southcity to a new level of excellence.
“I don’t think we’re playing out best football,” Skinner said on Tuesday.
“There are things we can improve in the second part of the season.”
Sure to strike a chord with the other 10 teams, Skinner’s words come as Southcity jointly leads the Group Nine ladder.
Following up their 2016 grand final victory, the Bulls have won seven of their eight games this year to be level with Gundagai at the top of the table.
Two months ago Gundagai edged Southcity 24-22 in their grand final rematch, but Skinner believes the Bulls should have won.
Taking stock of Southcity’s 7-1 record, Skinner has pinpointed one key area in which the Bulls need to lift their game.
“It’s a cliché, and every coach says it, but we really need to start playing for the full 80 minutes,” Skinner said.
“Right now we tend to drift in and out of games.”
Skinner says Southcity’s blistering attack is capable of putting on a rush of points “for 20 for 30 minutes” but then switching off.
For Skinner, the prospect of having a full complement of players for the back end of the premiership is another huge bonus for the Bulls.
Southcity has been hit with a succession of injuries to senior players this year, but the club’s depth has spared the team from any disasters.
Heading into Saturday’s game against Cootamundra at Harris Park, Skinner is relishing the thought of naming his strongest possible team for the initial time in 2017.
“This will be the first week we’ve been at full strength,” he said.
“It hasn’t happened this year.”
Ironically, Skinner and playmaker Nathan Rose are the notable additions this week as the pair standing down because of work commitments when the Bulls escaped with a tense 28-26 win over Tumut at Twickenham on June 4.
Despite a full deck for Saturday, Skinner is not counting out the Bulldogs.
“They’re playing for each other,” he said.
“They beat and they’ve pushed other teams.”
Two weeks ago, Cootamundra knocked Roos for six by nailing a 28-26 success at Les Boyd Oval, a result which stunned Group Nine.
The Bulldogs, however, will find Southcity a more demanding rival.
The Bulls and Bulldogs are at opposite ends of the Group Nine spectrum.
Southcity has the best attack and best defence in the premiership and Cootamundra has the worst record in both areas this year.
Tale of the Tape
Position: 1st 10th
Record: 7-1 1-1-6
Points for: 294 124
Points against: 128 322