Tigers to use more troops in bid to spoil Bulldogs party
SPOILING the West End Old Boys party is not the only goal for Norths in what looms as the Volunteers Cup game of the round at the North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday night.
Under this year's revised format, West End host the latest round of matches in the fifth week of competition between Ipswich and Toowoomba sides.
While the Bulldogs hope to attract some additional support, the Tigers are looking for more settled combinations in the second half of the Volunteers Cup series.
"It's been quite a journey. I've used 28 players so far in four games,'' head coach Mick Newton said, dealing with a spate of recent injuries.
"This week I'll be using 30 players all up.
"We've had boys in positions that just haven't got those combinations as to what we'd like to.
"There's not a lot of consistency at the moment but we're getting there.''
With two wins from four games, the Tigers are well in contention for the top four finals.
Norths are getting a good roll-up to training but have needed the extra bodies with recent injury setbacks.
Apart from a "very poor'' 52-8 loss to Valleys, Newton has seen some positive signs in Norths' 48-12 first-up win over Gatton and second loss 36-24 to competition pacesetters Goodna.
The Tigers accounted for Souths 34-18 in their latest game after the scores were deadlocked at 18-18.
"Even last week, we persisted through. We had a lot of penalties against us,'' he said.
"I don't know why. It wasn't so much discipline but we defended well against that.
"We didn't have a lot of ball in the second half but we still held our own.
"That's probably been our best effort.''
Newton expects plenty from the Bulldogs who have pushed all opponents despite having just one win from their four hit-outs.
"West End have quite a mix of players. They are just looking for combinations too by the look of things,'' he said.
"We're not looking too far ahead of ourselves at the moment.''
Newton praised fullback Luke Self, "always solid'' captain Chris Scanlan and winger turned secondrower Anava Fesolai for consistent performances in recent weeks.
Norths junior Self has been a standout as he works for a future spot at the Ipswich Jets.
"He has been quite impressive for us,'' Newton said. "He reads the game well too. That's probably one of the most important factors, especially in a fullback role.''
West End coach Jae Woodward will be away for the match.
Competition leaders Goodna play Souths in the first of three games on Saturday at Ipswich's rugby league headquarters.
Saturday's Volunteer Cup Rd 5 matches at the North Ipswich Reserve
1.30pm: Goodna v Souths
3.30pm: Valleys v Gatton
5.30pm: West End v Norths