Attack, attack, attack: Blue Bulls coaches looking for positivity in second trial

ON THE ATTACK: Central West’s coaches want to see attacking flair at Cowra on Saturday, Orange City No.8 Tatafu Na’anuimotu can provide just that. Photo: NICK McGRATHPositive, attacking rugby.
Nanjing Night Net

That’s what Central West coaches Dean Oxley, Graydon Staniforth and Dick Leach are looking for intheir Blue Bulls’ second trial against John Dent Cup –the ACT’s premier division –powerhouse Canberra Royals in Cowra on Saturday.

There’s no doubt Central West has the power in its backline to provide just that, but they’ll welcome back a couple of forwards who weren’t available for the side’s first trial against the NSW Waratahs’ under-20 side who can do so as well.

Among those inclusions is former NSW Country Cockatoo Dan Ryan, who missedthe loss to Gen Blue at Mudgee earlier this month because of work commitments.

“Dan does come in which is great for our forward pack, he has plenty of experience,” Staniforth said.

“This trial is still very much a selection-focused one for us as coaches, but it does also give us a good chance to continue working on our patterns of play.

“We want to be moving the ball well and in particular, moving the ball to the space and playing positive rugby.

“We’ve had a couple of training sessions since that loss in Mudgee, which was very positive for a first hit-out anyway, so we should be far more advanced that we were then anyway.”

The Royals will be the perfect follow-up to that trial against the Waratahs, Staniforth said, because they provide another quality outfit albeit one that isn’t as well-drilled as the budding Super Rugby stars.

“They’re always near the top in the Canberra competition, the Royals, so they’re a good side. I think it’ll mainly be their first and second grade group,” Staniforth said.

“It’s a good trial for us because they’re probably closer to our level than the Gen Blue side was, so it’s a good way for the group to move forward.

“They’re also a side which, I’d say, is pretty close to what we’ll face at the Country Championship so it should be a good indicator of what we can do.”

Staniforth said there’s no doubting the process-focused nature of the game, but admitted he’s hoping the Blue Bulls can post a victory as well.

Saturday’s trial kicks off at 2pm, and will be played over five 20-minute periods.

“It’s an interesting format but it works in both sides’ favour,” Staniforth said.

“For us, it gives us a chance to look at what we think is our strongest group for a couple of periods, but we also get to give the, let’s call them possibles, a good chance to push their case as well.

“Everyone should get about 60 minutes of playing time, so there’s every chance people can force their way into the top group.

“Canberra, I’d say, will also be using the game as a selection process, to nail down their first and second grade groups.”

Saturday’s fixture is the second of three trials the Blue Bulls will play, they’ll take on Central Coast late next month as well in the lead-up to their return to the top tier Caldwell Cup.

“We’d like to have our final squad playing in that trial, or at least very close to it,” Staniforth said.

“So this one against Canberra is pretty important for us in that regard.”

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