The Temora Dragons will face their biggest challenge of 2022 when paying a visit to Young on Sunday to take on the Cherrypickers in round seven of the Group 9 competition.
The unbeaten Dragons, who were drawn as the initial holders of the Group 9 Challenge Cup, have held the trophy for the first six rounds of 2022, warding off challenges from the Wagga Kangaroos in round three and Wagga Brothers in round five.
Young have paid the $1000 to play Temora for the Group 9 Challenge Cup on Sunday, and Cherrypickers coach Nick Cornish believes the concept, which is knew to him, has added an extra layer of excitement to what should already be an exciting Group 9 match.
“I didn’t even know it was a thing until the other day, but the club wanted to do it, and I’m all for it,” Cornish said.
“I think it could work; it adds a bit of excitement for whoever holds it and some added respect, plus it means teams will want to play for it and win it.
“I know we want to win it and hold it.”
Young, who started the season strongly before losing to Gundagai 36-14 in round five, bounced back in fine fashion on Sunday when belting Southcity 60-4.
“We got through it and we didn’t have any injures, and it was a good result,” Cornish said.
“It was good to get back to winning ways. The boys took that loss to Gundagai hard, and they wanted to win.”
Sunday’s match against the unbeaten Dragons will be one of Young’s toughest tests of 2022 and Cornish is expecting another hard hit out.
“Temora will be good, and they beat Tumut last round, who aren’t pushovers,” Cornish said.
“Temora play for 80 minutes, which is really dangerous, but it will be good for us to play a side that is going well.
“I haven’t watched a lot of their games, but from last year, we went out to a 18-nil lead at half time, and they held in there and were only four points behind us in the end.”
Cornish believes the Dragons are a better team than last year, and he said a tough challenge was exactly what his side needed after belting the Bulls on Sunday.
“They look better this year and I’m expecting a tough game,” Cornish said.
“They have beaten every other team and we want to keep our winning streak alive and prove that we can beat these teams – it will be a good challenge for us.”
In other Group 9 matches to be played on Sunday, the top of the table and unbeaten Gundagai Tigers will want to make a statement when paying a visit to Harris Park to play the struggling Southcity Bulls.
Despite their perfect record, Gundagai are yet to put together a full 80-minute performance, and captain/coach Luke Berkrey will be looking for his players to fire against the Kyle McCarthy-led Bulls.
In the third match, Albury Thunder host the Wagga Kangaroos at Greenfield Park.
Albury went down to Temora 22-4 in round four before sitting out with byes in rounds five and six.
The Robbie Byatt coached Thunder will be on fresh legs and they will be wanting to knock off the James Smart-led Wagga Kangaroos outfit that played well when losing 32-20 to Gundagai in round six.