Mustangs aim for early break against Cudgen
THE Murwillumbah Mustangs will enter Sunday’s Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) local derby against Cudgen aiming to set up an early winning margin, after last-gasp wins in their previous two games.
Against Tweed Coast Raiders and Evans Head in rounds five and six, the Mustangs relied on last- minute scoring to drag them over the line, with coach Nathan Jordan saying while the wins reflected the sides’ fitness, they would look to perform for 80 minutes to avoid perpetuating the pattern against the Hornets.
“To win in the last two minutes, two weeks in a row, is a testament to our fitness and ability to grind out a result, but we didn’t play that strongly,” Jordan said.
“If we can wrap it up 15 minutes before full-time, it would be good.”
The Hornets are flying and are looking for their third win in a row, after downing Evans Head 18-4 and Byron Bay 21-14 in the last fortnight.
They join the Mustangs in a group of six sides who are currently equal first on the ladder and separated by percentage only, with four wins from six games, in a tightly contested opening six weeks of the season.
Jordan said the state of the ladder proved how important it was for his side to perform to secure every point available, especially against their Tweed rival.
“Most games are hard this year with six sides on top, so if you turn up a bit off, and aren’t on the ball, you’ll lose,” Jordan said.
“Cudgen are about one try ahead on points difference and it’s a local derby, so we’re predicting another tight game.”
The Mustangs have been impressive with the ball in recent weeks, with their strong work offensively a key to their wins.
Jordan said the sides’ completion rate had been solid and more of the same, while stopping the Hornets’ forwards could be the other factor in the outcome.
“They’ve got some big forwards and tend to roll through the middle, so we’ll be trying to stop the roll,” he said.
“Our completions have been around the 75% mark, so if we can get around that mark with some solid defence, it will go a long way to winning us the game.”
Jordan said last year’s clash against Cudgen was probably the Mustangs’ biggest home game of the year and he was expecting another big crowd at Stan Sercombe Oval on Sunday.
NRRRL ROUND 7
- Ballina versus Tweed Coast Raiders: 2:45pm Sunday at Kingsford Smith Park.
- Byron Bay versus Northern United: 2:45pm Sunday at Red Devil Park.
- Murwillumbah versus Cudgen: 2:45pm Sunday at Stan Sercombe Oval.
- Marist Brothers versus Evans Head: 2.45pm Sunday at Crozier Field.
- Casino RSM beat Kyogle 36-26 on Thursday night