ORANGE Hawks coach Jared Brodrick is preparing his side for a physical barrage from rivals Lithgow Workies in Sunday’s Group 10 rugby league under 18 major semi-final.
Minor premiers after dropping just one game throughout the 2014 regular season, the junior two blues remain firmly in the box seat to secure the first place in this year’s under 18 decider when Hawks tackle the second-placed Workies at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Sporting Complex.
But Brodrick knows getting there will be far from easy.
“I think Lithgow’s just a massive side, so the challenge for the boys each time has been aiming up in ‘D’,” said Brodrick, the mentor alongside Lawrence Fogg.
Hawks have beaten Lithgow 34-12 and 18-12 on the two occasions they’ve met this season.
“And both games our ‘D’ has been spot on,” Brodrick continued.
“The boys stepped it up big time.”
Aiding Hawks in their under 18 bid will be experience.
Brodrick’s starting 13 has four players with premier league experience in it.
Deryne McKenzie and Kian Shead both played in Hawks’ 30-22 premier league elimination semi-final loss just last weekend, and Brodrick says the experience of playing in the top grade for those guys has been invaluable for his entire squad.
“They enjoyed their time in first grade and when they’ve come back they’ve helped pass on a bit of the stuff they’ve learnt to the other boys,” he added.
Hawks welcome back gun halfback Tony Pellow for the trip to Mudgee.
The Western Rams pivot has been out injured abut will start in the No.7 for the two blues in Sunday’s major semi-final, set to kick-off at 11.40am.
“We’re back to full strength for the first time in a while which will be good,” Brodrick said.