GREAT FORM: Hooker Matt Richards has been one of the best for Wattles this season and will play at Goondiwindi on Saturday night.
GREAT FORM: Hooker Matt Richards has been one of the best for Wattles this season and will play at Goondiwindi on Saturday night. contributed

Hooker will be key for Wattles at Gundy

RUGBY LEAGUE: Wattles Warriors player/coach Travis Burns has mostly retained his victorious line-up that finished ahead of Valleys last Saturday for Saturday's round 18 and final Toowoomba Rugby League round against the Goondiwindi Boars at Gilbert Oval.

Burns praised his side highly after last week's gripping 18-14 win over the Roosters, the result ushering the Warriors to the top rung of the Hutchies Cup ladder.

A top-grade win on Saturday will land the Railway Hotel, Allora, Warriors a second consecutive minor premiership and a break in the opening round of the TRL finals series that start next weekend at Clive Berghofer Stadium.

Burns himself was the Wattles' danger man against Valleys, the former NRL play-maker's superb kicking game and performance across the park yielding the Meringandan Hotel Player of the Match honours and Hutchies Cup Player of Round 17.

He is looking at continuing his impressive form against the Boars this evening in the A-grade match that is the feature game of a Super Saturday full day of rugby league, junior and senior clubs combined.

The Mark Offerdahl-coached Goondiwindi outfit is coming off a 22-16 success over Brothers last week and they are confident they can snatch the premiership points against the Warriors on Saturday.

Their biggest challenge will be Wattles' exceptional defence, which has been the crux of their season at the business end.

"It's a must-win for the Boars," Offerdahl said.

"We truly believe we can win, if we have any business being in the finals then today's match is the test."

A Goondiwindi success will cement them in fifth spot and certain finals starters.

Wattles have some last-minute changes after skipper and lock Ryan Duggan has been ruled out due to injury.

In-form front-rower Michael Pearson will move from the bench to the front row, while Nathan Gaulton will move to lock.

While Duggan is a significant loss, Burns has full confidence he has a line-up to get the job done.

A key player will be hooker Matt Richards, who has blossomed organising Wattles' rucks after heading to Platz Oval from Wynnum-Manly at the start of this season.

"Matt's in great form as we head into the business end of the season," Burns said.

"His cool head and dummy-half play will be key to our game today."

It was Richards who found an aisle through Valleys' defence last week to open the Warriors' scoring account, setting them on their way to a vital win.

The Boars have a number of danger men that will have the Warriors' attention: half-back Adam Tribe has been in fine form, with prolific try-scorer David Armstrong capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.

The quicksilver Armstrong can boast a commendable 15 tries from eight games this season.

On the subject of tries, Wattles fringe flyer Braydon Wilson will have his final opportunity to add to his impressive touchdown tally in Saturday's fixture, currently the leading try-scorer in the Hutchies Cup with 25 touchdowns from 15 games.

Kick-offs, Gilbert Oval on Saturday: under-18 3.30pm, reserve grade 5pm and A grade 6.30pm.



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