Bega Roosters captain-coach Ryan Apps knows the Moruya Sharks won’t be a pushover this weekend.
Following a week off the Roosters are hungry for the contest, and will look for a concerted effort against their long-time rivals.
“It’s going to be a tough game, that’s for sure, we’ve had three or four grand finals against [the Sharks] in the last few years and it’s always a good contest,” Apps said.
He commended the newfound strength of the Sharks and said the Moruya club were building a strong culture with a determination on and off the field.
“They’ve got a really strong team commitment and they’re holding their own,” he said.
“You’ve got to expect a hard game or you’re going to walk away without the competition points.”
Competition points are critical, and securing the two at home could be pivotal.
Apps says many key results have been decided on four points or less.
He said Batemans Bay was a real surprise package to hold third, but even the last-placed Bulldogs were certainly not out of the competition.
“It’s good to see every club has been playing so even,” Apps said.
"You look at a team like Merimbula and they've been a bit unlucky, most of their losses have been by two points.
“They’re an 80-minute team and we know we can’t slack off at any point against a club like that; we had a bit of lapse up at Bombala in the final two minutes and ended up losing it by two.
The coach is looking for an 80-minute effort against the Sharks, where quick play-the-balls and building momentum will be key.
The Sharks have suffered a couple of injuries, but the Roosters will also be down a few this weekend.
However, Apps said he would look to hard-working forwards Mitch Carter and Jarrod Tamatea, while hooker Hayden Parbery was in scintillating form.
“I’d love to play in the front row, but I’ve got to filter myself elsewhere because they’re playing really well,” he said.
He also commended Callum Bower-Scott, who has been adding impact and stepping up from the 18s.
The league-tag will get a bye this weekend, but the reserves and the first grade sides are encouraging everyone to head along to catch one of the league’s best top grade rivalries.
The reserves take the field from 1pm at the Bega Recreation Ground and the first grade showdown will kick off at 2.30pm.
Other matches will see the Tathra Sea Eagles travel to Narooma on Sunday, while the Candelo-Bemboka Panthers face off with Bombala on Saturday at Bombala.