Depleted Wattles out to test Valleys
RUGBY LEAGUE: What was shaping up as the match of the TRL season to date has taken a personnel hit, however there are no shortage of fireworks expected at Herb Steinohrt Oval tonight.
With a number of injuries and players out due to personal commitments, the Wattles top 17 has been left decimated ahead of their trip to take on Valleys.
Despite this, Wattles president Glyn Rees is backing the club's reserve grade players to step up for the blockbuster clash.
"The Duggan brothers (Matt and Ryan) are the ones that hit you in the arm the most,” he said.
"Ryan is our co-captain and last year's player of the year, and Matt is the Queensland Rangers halfback, so we're going to miss them.
"Tye Gardner will miss this week through injury, and classy centre Jake Hargreaves is also missing.
"It tests our depth, but does give an opportunity to young players that normally would play A-grade, and gives them the chance to show their colours against quality opposition.
"They're all on the fringe there, and it will put them in good stead. If the unwanted does occur, blokes can step into the breach.”
With four big names out, Rees said the young brigade had a golden opportunity to shine in the clash of the unbeaten sides.
"Josh Henry will move into five-eighth. He is no stranger to A-grade and he is a very talented young player,” he said.
"He has hit the right buttons in reserve grade, is a great attacking player, and I'm sure he'll combine well with the experience of Travis (Burns).
"Andrew Richardson is 20 and has played with the Ipswich Jets colts side. He will play fullback.
"Blake Lollback is making his A-grade debut, and has been one of the form players in reserve grade. I have full confidence can hold his own.”
To date Wattles has won all three games, and Rees gives their forward pack a great deal of credit for their success, and hopes they lead the way again tonight.
"It's basically the same pack we had last year when we had a great run into the semi's after a year of injury woes,” he said.
"With the organisational skills of Travis and Matt, and with the forwards doing such a good job, it gives the outside backs plenty of opportunities.”