Oberon coach Luke Branighan is the first to admit his Tigers aren’t playing the best heading into round six of the Group 10 season, well below the expectation of many, anyway.
But he’s confident a win over the Bears at Blayney on Mother’s Day can kick start the black and golds’ 2018 campaign ahead of a bumper fortnight after Sunday’s trip to King George Oval.
The Tigers take on Panthers at Carrington Park and then Orange Hawks at Oberon in the coming rounds, games that could define the season of the so far under-performing Tigers outfit.
“We’ve got to go over there with a good attitude and play for 80 minutes so we can get the win and build into a couple of big games,” Branighan said.
“We’re not playing well at the moment, it’s going to be a tough game. Even though Blayney are getting beat they’ve been in most games.”
Oberon recorded just its second win of the season last Sunday thanks to a somewhat nervy 34-28 win over Mudgee.
Far from polished, Branighan said it was a victory based on “a little bit of guts”, which is something he hopes to see more of from the Tigers this Sunday.
“Our defence was poor at times, our completion rate has been an issue all year, but we’re starting to get some troops back on the field … it’s pleasing to not be at our best but get the win,” he said looking at last week’s triumph.
The Tigers welcome back powerhouse winger Brenton Gibson for his first game in Oberon colours since the West Wyalong knockout, while prop Dave Sellers also returns.
“Everyone knows how I feel about Dave as a player; consistent, tough and a smart footballer,” Branighan added.
Oberon prop Mickey Hawkings out with a hamstring injury but is only expected to be sidelined for a week.
Blayney, too, is without its best forward, with Brady Cheshire sidelined ahead of Sunday’s clash at King George Oval.
Bears captain-coach Tim Mortimer will revert to lock while recruit Ben Pickering to start in the front-row.
Kick-off at Blayney is at 1.40pm.