Turtles favourites in Wests clash

BUNDABERG Turtles will be hot favourites when they lock horns with Wests Barbarians in their All-Safe Spring Cup sixth round clash at ATW Sports Complex tonight.

But captain and assistant coach Luke Cummins said the make-up of the side was uncertain and that they have plenty of respect for the Barbarians despite having a far superior record to them.

The Turtles have swept all before them in their reincarnation this season including last Friday when they blitzed Alloway Falcons 41-14 despite being without a number of their trumps, while the Barbarians have won just one of their five matches and they are coming off a 45-27 defeat at the hands of Isis Crushers.

“The team is a bit of a lucky dip at the moment. There are no Tanners and Matt Templeman is unknown at this stage, but I have got every confidence that whoever turns up will definitely do the job and do it well,” Cummins said.

“We had a good session on Wednesday with a bit of field time and everyone was happy to run around, and we will have a pretty similar outfit to last week or take in a couple more (rugby) leaguies.”

Cummins said Dean Burgess had done a good job since temporarily taking the coaching reins a fortnight ago, but that coach Rob Darney would return for tonight.

“Dean has a 100% record – one from one – but ‘Hollywood’ (Darney) is going to be back – it is really a continuation of the old (East Coast) Buccaneers-Barbars rivalry, and it always brings out the best in those who were part of that era,” he said.

“Last week we called on some experience in ‘High Tower’ Jason Schuler – he’s one of the original forefathers of Buccaneers/Turtles and he was on the field for only 30 seconds when we scored, and I’ve got no doubt his presence on the field made a difference.

“We’ll need his experience again because Barbars gave us one of our closest scores this year (31-12) when we last played them (on September 24), and it is the last round before the Mariners join in, and we’ll need to be on our game then, well and truly, so we want to keep building the momentum.”

Meanwhile, much is also at stake in the second game on the program between Falcons and Crushers who are third and second respectively on the ladder.

Crushers will give themselves a bit of breathing space in they get the points, but a Falcons victory would lift them into second position on the ladder.

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