Drovers host Phantoms

By Daniel Hughes

The Deni Drovers will look to get their first win of the season when they host Leeton Phantoms at Rotary Park in round three of the Southern Inland Rugby Union Romano’s Cup tomorrow.

The Drovers have had a tough start to the season dropping two straight games and this weekend is shaping up to be the biggest challenge yet.

Drovers team manager Angela Coffey said her home side will have a tough task against a large squad, as the Drovers continue to struggle for numbers, fielding a side without reserves.

‘‘All our players should be right to play, they’re looking forward to another home game,’’ Coffey said.

‘‘We are coming up against Leeton who have just one grade as opposed to the three that they’ve had in the past so I can imagine they’re going to be a very tough side and have many top grade players.

‘‘A few weeks ago they beat one of the Wagga sides by more than 70 points which is quite a feat, so we should expect a big fight.

‘‘We’re hoping to have Lynden Golding back in the line-up who missed a week from a head injury but that is unconfirmed at this stage.

‘‘We want to run on with a full 15, but again we will have to wait and hear more about player availability before we confirm our run-on squad.’’

With new additions to the side this season many of the squad have been fielded in new positions.

Coffey said the players are becoming more accustomed to the new roles and the new additions to the club are starting to lead from the front.

‘‘With more confidence our on field communication is getting much better,’’ she said. 

‘‘Reef Wereta was voted best on ground and he hasn’t played with us for a few years; we also have Robert Scott and Owen Whyman who are new to the club and also got votes. It goes to show how quickly our players are responding to the challenges this season.’’

The Drovers will face an additional challenge this weekend with heavy rain expected on Friday and additional showers on game day.

‘‘We are expecting quite a bit of rain this weekend so we spent a lot of time at training working on our ball handling, making sure we keep hold of it through our sets and in the ruck,’’ Coffey said.

‘‘I want to say a big thank you to all our volunteers who cleaned the clubrooms for both teams prior to their arrival so we could stay COVID-safe.

‘‘Matt Crothers volunteered his day in round one to stand at the gate, not watch the game, just to ensure everyone was signed in.

‘‘Our COVID-Safety officer also did a good job, ensuring everyone was social distancing if they were out of their car.’’