Eden Tigers reserves defeated Cooma Stallions 30-8
The Eden Tigers reserve grade outfit only has one mark on an otherwise perfect season, but the squad is only looking for the finals.
This weekend’s scheduled match against the Tathra Sea Eagles was cancelled due to the reserve grade’s withdrawal.
However, captain-coach Alan Aldridge said the Tigers will use the two-week break to train hard and rest injuries ahead of the finals season.
“Everyone is ready for the finals, we are glad the rounds are over now and we can concentrate on that,” Aldridge said.
An extensive injury list should be cut much shorter with two weeks to recover, and will also give the squad a chance to train hard and coordinate their plays.
“That is actually quite good because we can train together and bring injured players back.
“The injuries have been ongoing this week against Cooma and last week against Moruya.”
Aldridge will be happy to have his full strength squad back as he said injury woes had affected the roster for the “second half of the year”.
The club is expecting to see the return of Aaron and Shaquille Aldridge as well as “Sugar” Shane Mongta.
Ben Brumby may be able to make a return for the grand final, but needs a bit more time to recover.
Despite a list of players as long as your arm that couldn’t take part in the game against Cooma, the Tigers rallied their efforts and still came out on top.
“The boys are just ready to play every week, they get into football mode and we just kept coming up with the goods to get the win,” Aldridge said.
A triple-try performance by Morgan Stewart saw the Tigers running away with the lead.
Meanwhile, Cooma was unable to convert the two tries it scored.
Aldridge said it was another strong all-round performance from the squad and hoped to carry the momentum forward.
“We need to continue the big team efforts if we are going to win the finals.
“Everyone needs to keep up putting their hand up and keep playing like they have been.
“If we do that then we should be okay,” he said.
The team has no doubts that playing finals football will be very different from the home-away season.
“The three teams, Bega, Candelo-Bemboka and Moruya, they’ve all won premierships before and it is the Panthers first year back.
“Come semis and finals time, it is anyone’s game.
“It really comes down to who wants it more on the day,” he said.
There is no denying the Tigers’ ability this year and Aldridge is confident the team can win it all, if the enthusiasm keeps up.
“The enthusiasm we’ve shown all year we need to up that by about 20 per cent and just have the will to win.”
Tyrone Thomas, Elvis Tui and Jack Nicholson all chimed in with a try each to ensure Eden took away the goods.
Meanwhile, the first grade squad has been showing strength in the top four and, despite being out of finals contention, the league-tag squad is ever-improving.
The community has rallied behind the club and players as a whole, Aldridge said.
“It’s been a positive reaction with the community, they’re happy to see Eden doing good.
“On and off the field it’s good with the community too, we’re doing each other proud and it’s great to see everyone getting involved and coming down to the football,” he said.