Thirroul's call to arms for Tigers clash

RUGBY LEAGUE

Thirroul player-coach Nathan Fien.

Thirroul player-coach Nathan Fien.

Thirroul captain Nathan Fien is confident his side has the depth to cover the loss of fullback Sam Clune and lock Jamie Feeney in Saturday's top-of-the-table northern derby against Helensburgh at Gibson Park.

Clune has been in top form, scoring a hat-trick in the Butchers's 62-0 win over Collegians last week, while Feeney is a steadying influence on the forwards.

Feeney will coach the Country Firsts side - that includes Clune and Helensburgh halfback Eamon Hillen - on a two-week tour of Hawaii, leaving the Butchers without two of their key members as they look to topple the competition leaders.

"It's hard to replace a guy like Cluney. In the form that he's in he's such an instrumental part of what we've achieved so far this year and he's going to be a big loss for us," Fien said.

"There's an opportunity for some guys to step up and lead our side around and not rely on the likes of Cluney and Jamie Feeney in the forwards.

"We've been having a look at Denan Kemp. He's been away working over the last couple of months so he hasn't played as much football as we'd have liked, so he's been doing a bit there.

"We've also got the likes of Ty McCarthy who's been a stalwart out at Thirroul.

"He's stepped up and done the job for us over a number of years really and this season he's been doing a fantastic job."

Thirroul have not beaten the Tigers this year after drawing their first game and losing 25-0 when the sides met at Gibson Park.

Fien said his side was keen to dispel any hoodoo prior to an inevitable meeting at finals time.

"There's no doubt that we'll meet in the finals at some stage, so psychologically you like to get those little wins throughout the year.

"They're on a bit of a roll at the moment and obviously they're the form side of the competition, so we're going to have to be on our game to match it with those guys.

"They got us last time as well, 25-0 the last time we met at Gibson Park, so that's in the boys' minds and hopefully we can turn that result around.

"It's not always easy at this level but the way we're travelling at the moment. I've got every confidence we should be able to get up for this one and it should be a really good game of footy."

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