TIMELY RETURN: Norths premiership-winning forward Tim Newton will be joined by Matt Fairhurst, Jacob Stephan and Dale McDonald for this weekend’s clash with Swifts.
TIMELY RETURN: Norths premiership-winning forward Tim Newton will be joined by Matt Fairhurst, Jacob Stephan and Dale McDonald for this weekend’s clash with Swifts. Kate Czerny

Cavalry answers the call of IRL defending premiers

WITH four games left in the season the troops are returning just in time for the defending IRL premiers.

After knocking off the second-placed Fassifern last week, Norths head to Purga tonight to take on the struggling Swifts Bluebirds.

With no more home games left for the season, Norths coach Anthony O'Brien was happy to leave Keith Sternberg Oval on a high.

"It was good to give something back to the fans," O'Brien said.

"We've hadn't had much luck at home this season so it was good to finish on a positive note."

With forward leader Tim Newton back in the Tigers engine room, O'Brien will welcome back a trio of premiership stars for this weekends game.

Matt Fairhurst and Jacob Stephan, and Jets utility Dale McDonald all return in time for their must-win game against the Bluebirds.

With plenty of youth in the side, O'Brien said their experience would be crucial to the Tigers run home.

"In the last couple of weeks we've had Tim return from 10 weeks on the sidelines and this week we'll have a couple more," he said. "Having those experienced players back in the side really does add some more spark to the team.

"Josh Roberts and Steven West have been playing happier football off the back of some more go-forward and we're certainly building some confidence."

As the defending premiers, the Tigers would be disappointed to miss out on making the finals.

Tied with Swifts for fourth place, and with West End just one point behind, the race for the fourth remaining finals spot has certainly heated up.

After a dominant start to the season, Swifts have lost six straight games to drop from second place to fourth.

O'Brien said he wasn't daunted by the prospect of playing their remaining games away from home.

"We've got to win everywhere to finish in the finals," he said. "That's the position we have put ourselves in and it's up to our oppositions to take advantage of the home crowd."

Up against the experienced Swifts forward pack composed of Zeb Nuuola and Kurtis Lingwoodock, O'Brien said the visitors would need to step up a gear.

"With how close the competition is you have to be playing your best every week and even better the next week," he said.

"Swifts are another big side so hopefully we can control the football and put in a good performance."

 

Tonight kicks off with the Swifts Reserve Grade against West End from 4.30pm, followed by the A Grade game from 6pm.

Game day

Swifts Bluebirds v Norths Tigers from 6pm today at Swifts RLFC, Purga.

Brothers Ipswich v West End Bulldogs from 3pm tomorrow at Brother Seery Oval.

Goodna Eagles v Fassifern Bombers from 3pm tomorrow at Woogaroo Field.



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