Deni Rhinos have a massive double header at home this weekend as they look to establish themselves as a serious threat in Murray Valley Cricket Association’s Premier Grade.
After posting a win in round one, tomorrow the Rhinos take-on competition heavyweight Barooga before backing up against perennial finalist Waaia on Sunday. Both matches are 45-over fixtures.
Rhinos coach John Arthur says he is confident his side can come away with two wins.
‘‘If we want to be considered one of the better sides then we need to beat teams like Waaia and Barooga,’’ he said.
‘‘We have the talent in the side that can match it with them and we’re full of confidence after last week’s win.
‘‘I’ve never been involved in a game where I didn’t think we could win. We need to send a statement to the rest of the competition early and set ourselves up to be in a position to play finals.’’
Boosting the Rhinos’ stocks will be the return of pace bowlers Liam Pitts and Ben Irwin, with off-spinner Jack Tonta also available for selection.
Pitts will most likely open the bowling, while veteran Anthony Bradley will look to continue his form from last week when he guided the side to victory with an unbeaten half century.
‘‘If we can have Wriggler (Bradley) bat like he did last week and have Andrew Hogan and Brad Todd spend the majority of the time in the middle then we will be in a winning position.
‘‘I’m hoping to have all players available over the two days, but depending on availability there could be a couple of changes made for the Sunday team.’’
Both Barooga and Waaia are coming off impressive wins.
Last week the Hawks were steered home thanks to an opening partnership of 96 between Sam Leigh (70) and Riley Gow (37), while an unbeaten 124 by Brayden Carey secured victory for the Bombers.
‘‘Our bowling will need to be at its absolute best this weekend,’’ Arthur said.
‘‘We need to avoid giving away wides and no balls, because the extras can come back to haunt you.
‘‘We have plenty of bowling options with Dylan Rotherham, Brad Todd and Andrew Hogan bowling well last week. Add in Pitts and Irwin and you’re looking at a solid bowling line-up.
‘‘The early round games can make or break your season and we don’t want to be playing catch-up like last year.
‘‘We still have our overseas import to come into the side as well when he arrives.’’
Both Premier games start at 12.30pm, with Arthur encouraging locals to support the side at Memorial Park’s lush number three oval.
‘‘We’re still looking for more players too, so if anyone’s interested they should pop down and see what it’s all about,’’ Arthur said.
‘‘The fact that we’re playing at home for both games should help us out a little bit.
‘‘We’d love to see locals come and support us.’’
The Rhinos’ Division One side will also be playing at home for their first game of the year against Tocumwal tomorrow. The match starts at 1pm on Memorial Park oval one.