DURING the week Chris Thompson and Moses Manu are hard-working family men but tomorrow they will arguably hold the keys to their sides progressing to the Group 11 grand final.
With the match being played on Father’s Day we got the key CYMS and Macquarie forwards to pose for photos with their children, but for Manu a big weekend got a whole lot more special yesterday.
Just hours after the photo of him and his three-year-old son Kobe was taken, Manu became a father for the second time when his partner Hayley McIntosh gave birth to a fit and healthy baby boy.
“I guess he just missed the photo shoot,” Manu joked.
“Hayley and I hadn’t really spoken about what would happen if she went into labour on Sunday but I think if that did happen I would have had to stay here in Dubbo with her.
“But it all happened really quickly, and Hayley and the baby are both doing well, so it’s worked out great.”
While the weekend will be a hive of activity for Manu, the same can’t be said for Thompson.
The rugged CYMS prop will have some quiet time before he heads into battle on Sunday.
“Chrystal and the kids are in Sydney for the weekend so they won’t be here for Father’s Day or the semi-final,” he said.
“I don’t know what I’ll do. It might mean I get more of a sleep in. It would have been nice to have them here but it can’t be helped.
“Hopefully they will have a game to come and watch me play next week.”
Thompson has spoken in the past of how his wife and three children - Alaqua (4), Mataeo (2) and Chandon (8 months) - have turned his life around, both on and off the field
CYMS have won both contests between the sides so far in 2013, with a 30-14 win in round seven backed up by a 50-14 victory in the final home-and-away fixture.
Macquarie head into the game on the back of elimination-final victories over Wellington and Nyngan while CYMS need to rebound from a 19-16 loss to Parkes in the major semi-final.
Both men know those results mean nothing when everything goes on the line tomorrow.
“I think the last time we played Macquarie we got a lead and they gave up, the score blew out a bit at the end,” Thompson said.
“But when you’re playing a preliminary final there’s no giving up.
“Macquarie has had two elimination games so far and they’ve won them both late. They’re playing for 80 minutes and we didn’t do that last week.
“We were flat and we didn’t start to play how we wanted to until probably the second half but we know we can’t afford to do that again this week.
“If we could take a positive from it we played our worst game of the year and we still only got beat by three points.”
For the Raiders, victory revolves around discipline and controlling the ball.
It sounds simple but Manu said it’s something Grey has drilled into his team this week.
“The last time we played CYMS we were probably too pumped up and we gave away penalties and made mistakes,” Manu said.
“It probably sounds strange but we have to treat it like every other week.
“Simple things like hanging on to the ball and not giving away silly penalties will give us our best chance of beating them.
“It won’t be easy though. They’re probably stinging from getting beat last week but in saying that the pressure will be on them.
“They’ve had a great year but if we beat them and they don’t make the grand final then I think they’d be very disappointed.”