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NORTHS starting XV:
1. Dan Murray
2 Scott Podmore
3. Nick Lah
4. Mike O’Hea
5. Chris Thomson
6. Hugh Sinclair
7. Sam Figg
8. AJ Gilbert ©
9. Michael Dowsett
10. Scott Daruda
11. Jack Grant
12. Michael Freeman
13. Bill Meakes
14. Peter Schuster
15. Liam Windon
The loss to Manly last week however disappointing, did recapture the team’s passion and desire to represent the Red & Black in both first and second grade. We did not get the points but it provided the foundation for the team to recapture form. Our biggest challenge is to increase our attack, which requires both individuals and the team to create more opportunities to line break. Similarly, we need to increase the intensity of our play on the field; we need to make the conversion of these line breaks as they are crucial to our outcome.With this intention, we have forced 6 more changes to the first grade team to find that attacking spark.
Dan Murray makes his starting debut for Norths in 2013 which will be his second first grade start after making his debut in 2011 against Parramatta. Dan has worked hard on his fitness and strength over the offseason to be one of our fittest props in the squad. Dan is fully aware and capable to perform to the fast pace style of first grade demands of its players.
Chris Thomson returns to the starting team after a week in Melbourne with the Rebels. Chris replaces Ben Matwijow who has been selected by the Force to represent the franchise against the Lions next week. Chris will be peaking to perform after a few lean weeks in the Red & Black.
Sam Figg was an unfortunate casualty of poor performance against Randwick two weeks ago but has bounced back superbly to give the team the added attacking presence we require. Sam has returned from the London 7’s final in great condition and we expect a big game from this representative player.
Michael Dowsett, the 2012 1st Colts Grand Final halfback has been rewarded with his debut in the Red and Black, with performances in lower grades showing strength in linebreaking and penetration around the edges of the ruck. Liam Walker must be credited for his performance this season in the No 9, with this decision difficult in that Liam brings balance, leadership and determination to his performances each week.
Scott Daruda hasovercome his groin complications to return to full fitness, strength and performance after a stint in 2’s last week. Jack Grant who took the position of the No 10 jersey had a superb debut game, with this performance creating a reshuffle in our backline, causing Jack to move to left wing and Blake Murray to 2’s. Blake has been excellent in his attitude and willingness to work, but unfortunately for Blake, Jack gives the team more attacking options.
Bill Meakes returns after a Grade 1 hamstring strain which forced him out of the Manly game. Bill has been one of our most lethal backs over the first 5 weeks of competition; we are looking to Bill to entertain the crowd with his trademark tackle busts creating opportunities for himself and those around him. Sam Myers had a good game against Manly and is unlucky to be pushed to second grade this week.
The atmosphere of playing at Bluetongue Stadium will not be lost on our boys and we are also weary of a West Harbour team who has secured 6 bonus point tries in 8 weeks. Wests beat us at home last season and we need to be at our best to not let this happen in 2013.
Crucial competition points are required to stay with the peloton.