WESTBLADE KNOWS THE SCORE
By Stephanie Muir of Win News and Les Muir
THEY are one of the form teams of the Group Nine premiership, but Brothers coach Terry Westblade is definitely not putting the Brethren on a pedestal.
With a four-game winning streak, Brothers are rivalling Southcity and Young as the team with the most impressive recent resume.
Despite their impressive results over the past month, Westblade appreciates the magnitude of the challenge of playing Young at Alfred Oval on Sunday.
“It will be tough, but they’ve all been tough actually,” Westblade said.
For Westblade, Sunday’s clash will be the first time he has seen the Cherrypickers in action since moving to Wagga, and subsequently replacing Ben Black as Brothers coach.
Even without the influence of suspended halfback Ray Talimalie, Westblade expects Young’s depth to ensure a demanding contest.
“I missed the first game of the season when they played Young so I don’t know a lot about them except that they’re travelling really well and got some great forwards,” Westblade said.
“I know that we’re up for a tough match, there’s no question about that.
“And playing in Young, that’ll be pretty tough as well.”
As much as Young will be missing Talimalie, Brothers are also in player predicament.
Explosive Peter Little and craft halfback Liam Carey are out of the team, with Mitch Dunn and Edan Price the respective replacements.
Playing without Little and Carey only makes the task for Brothers so much harder in a game on which the continued success for the Wagga team could guarantee their place in the finals.
“Yeah it does really,” Westbalde said.
“We’ve got three matches and we need to win two to make it.
“And we’re endeavouring to do that. But we’ll just take it week by week see how it happens for us.”
With injuries ruling out playmakers Little and Carey, Westblade knows the odds are now stacked against the Brethren.
However, rather than dwell on the negatives, Westblade is embracing the opportunity to give hard-working duo Dunn and Price.
“We just want to bring other people into those spots,” he said.
“If you’re going to do any good, you have to be able to have that sort of depth.”
Like prop Brayden Sharrock, Westblade recognises the importance of the Brothers pack making life tough for their counterparts.
“The forwards will obviously try to dominate and lay the platform for the game,” Westblade said.
“If our guys can hold on their and match it, we’re hoping to make an improvement.”