WHILE the local Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union club will celebrate its 50th anniversary this weekend, Muswellbrook Heelers coach Mick Hall is adamant his charges are focused on the “job at hand”.
And, that task is upstaging competition leaders Southern Lakes at Highbrook Park on Saturday.
“Even though everyone is looking forward to acknowledging the history of our great club, we’re concentrating more on the clash than the occasion,” the mentor admitted.
“To me, it’s first versus third.
“Hopefully, the milestone will draw a bigger crowd to spur the boys on a bit.
“And, the club’s made a big weekend of it, but our attention is on the rugby side of things.”
Hall said a victory was imperative for the Heelers.
“We need to beat the teams above us on the ladder,” he told the Chronicle.
“Southern Lakes is the benchmark [in the divisional competition] and a niggly outfit.
“We struggled with numbers the last time we met.
“However, if we play to our structure and set pieces, I’m confident we can knock them over at home.
“It’d like to finish in the top two heading into the play-offs.”
Although the Heelers boasted limited troops in their clash with Easts 2 last Saturday, the Muswellbrook lads walked away with an impressive 24-5 triumph.
“It was a good victory, especially after the poor performance against Pokolbin the week before,” Hall said.
“We had a lot of guys unavailable.
“So, we won on the basis of commitment and attitude.
“We haven’t played well [against either Easts 1 or 2] the past couple of seasons; they’re a very physical side.
“But, the remaining boys lifted, led by big boppers Ben Heriot, Tyler Judge and Harry Hobden, to create a memorable result.”
This weekend’s match kicks off at the earlier time of 1.40pm.
The club’s birthday festivities start on Friday night, with a get-together and catch up at Eaton’s Hotel.
Saturday’s encounter also coincides with Old Boys Day.
Supporters will then have plenty of time to get ready for the celebratory dinner that night at major sponsor, the Muswellbrook RSL Club, which features inaugural president David White and guest speaker Matt Dunning.
On Sunday, the Heelers will host a recovery barbeque breakfast at the clubhouse at Highbook Park.