No Woolnough, no worries.
Western will again be without its star rake in Saturday’s Laurie Daley Cup clash after Campbell Woolnough was ruled out with a slight meniscus tear in his knee.
The creative No.9 missed the Rams opener against Penrith Panthers at Mudgee last Saturday and will again watch Western in the under 18s country championship from the stands at Forbes in round two.
Western coach Paul McDonald revealed the Forbes Magpies star, who was the NSW Country under 16s hooker in 2017, might be available for Western in round three.
But that was a matter for next week.
Ahead of round two against the Riverina, McDonald was throwing his full support behind the impressive Paddy Haycock, who was a late call-up to replace Woolnough in round one and will again take on the hooking duties for Western at Spooner Oval on Saturday.
“Paddy Haycock didn’t let us down last week,” McDonald said looking back at the 18-all draw against the Panthers at Glen Willow.
“We went back, looked at the video and he had an excellent game.
“I’m expecting he’ll be stronger this week. We had a training run at Manildra on Wednesday night and he’s up to speed with anything he was missing (against Penrith).”
Riverina sits on top of the southern pool standings after a commanding 60-8 thrashing of the GSR Wests Tigers last week.
The Rams played the Bulls in a trial game at Young in the lead-up to the championship, with Western securing a win in that game.
Round one Laurie Daley Cup star, Condobolin’s Dennis Spathis crossing in that warm-up victory.
But McDonald was reluctant to read too much into trial form.
“I think there’s a bit of ducks and drapes there at Young. They’ve got a few back from Canberra now,” he said.
“They’re a big side with a relatively simple game plan of completing sets and getting to the ground early to get quick play the balls.
"We need to be aggressive in defence to slow them down.”
While a draw isn’t an ideal start to Western’s campaign, McDonald was impressed with his side’s ability to build an early 16-4 lead despite not having the better of the opening 35 minutes.
Maintaining that lead and closing out the match are two things the Rams have been focused on this week.
Western and Riverina go head-to-head in round two of the Daley Cup from 1.15pm at Spooner Oval.
- WESTERN: 1 Benjamin Glasheen (Parkes Spaceman), 2 Denis Spathis (Condobolin Rams), 3 Brock Naden (Wellington Cowboys), 4 Coopa Martin (Forbes Magpies), 5 Zarrin Galea (Dubbo Cyms), 6 Harry Blake (Nyngan Tigers), 7 Josh Board (Orange CYMS), 8. Nick Barlow (Bathurst Panthers), 9 Paddy Haycock (Dubbo CYMS), 10 David White (Condobolin Rams), 11 Thomas Stimpson (Dubbo CYMS), 12 Tyrone Harrison (Orange CYMS), 13 Luke Bain (c) (Bathurst Panthers); Bench: 14 Nathan Swain (Orange CYMS), 15 Aaron Mahwinney (Forbes Magpies), 16 Colby Peckham (Dubbo CYMS), 17 Bradley Fearnley (Bathurst Panthers), 18 Mitch Collins (Orange CYMS)