Blowes Clothing Cup 2017: Dubbo Rhinos looking to take advantage of Parkes Boars' worrying decline

GET HIM: Codi Riley has been full of effort and one of the many players to impress since linking with the Rhinos. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS
GET HIM: Codi Riley has been full of effort and one of the many players to impress since linking with the Rhinos. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

Much has been made of the Dubbo Rhinos struggles in recent weeks but the last few rounds has also seen the club drawn against genuine premiership and finals contenders.

On Saturday, in the second last round of the season, the men in black and gold have an opportunity to prove they are still a competitive outfit.

This weekend sees the Rhinos make the trip to Parkes to take on a Boars side which has been in free fall in recent weeks.

In the last five rounds, the Boars have conceded 146 more points than the Rhinos and fallen from a finals contender to a side battling to compete.

However, it must be noted the Rhinos did forfeit to Cowra in that time, something the Boars have not done this season.

Since that forfeit the Rhinos have shown ticker, first sticking it to the Kangaroos in a crosstown derby defeat, before refusing to roll over despite conceding more than 20 points inside the first 20 minutes at Bathurst against Bulldogs last weekend.

The Boars don’t have the attacking talents of either the Roos or Bulldogs and the Rhinos will be hoping to negate any home ground advantage this weekend.

Being at home is a boost to a Boars side which has rarely travelled well. If the hosts line up with the likes of skipper Israel Symington, Dan Ryan and Johnny Rathbone in the lineup it will be a formidable one but availability has proved an issue for the Boars during the second half of the season.

With the Boars now only playing for pride and the Rhinos desperate for a win not only to boost the confidence but also boost the chances of avoiding the wooden spoon, there is every chance the ball could be thrown around a bit on Saturday.

Points may have been hard to come by at times for the Rhinos this season but they proved in the 38-19 loss to the Roos two weeks ago there was some attacking spark still there.

Scotsman Ross Gilmour will again be key while skipper Jordan Davis has been a consistent performer all season and will be keen to again lead from the front.

The versatile Javarn Nofoagatoa is always capable of breaking any game open and coach Dave Stuart will be hopeful his side gets a little room to move at Parkes.

The Rhinos head into the match on 14 points, two ahead of the last-placed Mudgee Wombats and one behind CSU Bathurst. The Wombats face a stern test this weekend against an Orange City side desperate to win to stay in the all-important fifth spot while CSU takes on a Cowra side hot on the heels of the Lions in sixth. With just two rounds remaining, a win for the Rhinos on Saturday would go close to ensuring the wooden spoon doesn’t reside with the club for a second straight season.

Kick off at Parkes is 3.15pm on Saturday.