Mallee Bulls set for big Avondale clash

University's Leon Mason is confronted by Shamrocks breakaway Damien Clark. Picture: GREG TOTMAN
University's Leon Mason is confronted by Shamrocks breakaway Damien Clark. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

University coach Shaun McCreedy is crossing his fingers that a three-week break won't halt the Mallee Bulls' momentum heading into Saturday's top of the table showdown with Avondale.

After opening the season with a 24-16 defeat by Avondale, Uni haven't lost since.

They won six on the trot, averaging 55.8 points in their past four games and running in 30 tries, but haven't played since they thrashed Shoalhaven 77-7 on June 14.

"We've had a month's worth of good results leading up to it so the break probably didn't come at a good time for us because we were on a good roll," McCreedy said.

"Hopefully we're more refreshed, rather than short of a gallop."

Avondale won nine from nine and won't be overawed by Uni's recent point-scoring feats.

The Wombats also know their way to the tryline, averaging 52 points in their past four matches.

"There's a good feeling within the club and it'll be a good test for us to see how far we've come since the start of the season when we first played them," McCreedy said.

"They've probably been the pick of the sides over the last six years and they've been able to adapt their game as they've gone along.

"They used to rely purely on a power game and now they've got a good backline that complements their big forwards, so they've got the size and speed and some good ball distributors in that backline.

"We'll have to be good across the park for 80 minutes.

"Any lapses, they'll pounce on you and punish you, and they can punish you from anywhere on the field."

McCreedy knows a win will go a long way towards clinching a top three finish.

"If we can get good set piece ball, look after that first ruck and put a few phases together, then we might be able to put some pressure on them in attack but they'll put pressure on us at set piece as well."

The Wollongong Vikings could conceivably slip from third to fifth without lifting a finger.

Kiama (26 points) and Camden (26) will be confident of notching bonus-point wins over Tech Waratahs and Bowral respectively, a scenario which would push both of them past Vikings (30).

The Woonona Shamrocks (23) are also expected to move a step closer to Vikings when they travel to Nowra to take on Shoalhaven.


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