What happens when the two top teams in the Group Nine competition go head to head?
Well tomorrow Alfred Oval in Young will tell you as the Albury Thunder prepare to rain on the undefeated Young Cherrypickers parade.
But Young’s captain coach Luke Branighan said his squad will go into tomorrow’s clash with the confidence they have what it takes to give Albury their first loss of the season.
“Oh, look it’s going to be tough, they are no doubt the in-form team of the competition and they are undefeated – they have had a draw,” Branighan said.
That draw means the Thunder are one point below Young on the premiership ladder.
“I think either way it will be a good challenge for us and a good chance for me to see where our boys are at,” he said.
That true test of character that Branighan insists this game will be requires Young to come out storming.
“We have plenty of players and I am yet to name my squad that will play but I think we can do however, recent performances would suggest otherwise.”
But even those “recent performances” have left Young with a six from six winning streak, but Albury are still thriving off their 86-nil thrashing of the Wagga Brothers last weekend.
“We are not kidding ourselves, it will be tough and we need to play the full 80 minutes with the right attitude,” he said.
But Albury’s captain-coach Josh Cale said Young are playing quite well.
“I’m not sure what to expect this weekend, obviously they are doing something right – they are on top and they have picked up a few good players in Luke Branighan and Ben McAlpine,” Cale said.
“Branighan and McAlpine are a strong partnership so we need to come out and get the simple things right,” he said.
“Branighan is a professional footballer and we know that.”
And McAlpine has been dubbed the best player in country rugby league.
But Cale and his side are contending with injury concerns.
“Mark Walsh got knocked out last week and he is our hooker and in doubt for tomorrow’s game,” Cale said.
But Albury’s game plan is simple.
“We will come out firing and we go into every game with the belief we can win so tomorrow will be no different” Cale said.
However, Albury and Young have always had a strong competitive nature.
“We have had close clashes in the past – we beat them in Young and then again at home later in the 2011 season,” Cale said.
But despite his opponent talking the talk, Branighan won’t be getting caught up in the off field rivalry.
“I have played with those tags throughout my career so I don’t take any notice of it,” he said.
The Young Cherrypickers will put their feet up for the next two weeks as the long weekend is a general bye and then in round eight on June 17, the boys have another bye.
But they will still be busy with their Race Day fundraiser at the Empire Hotel on June 16.
For enquiries contact the club.