Rhinos searching for consecutive victories

KEY COMPONENT: Winning the set pieces will be vital for the Dubbo Rhinos when they take on Mudgee on Saturday. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

KEY COMPONENT: Winning the set pieces will be vital for the Dubbo Rhinos when they take on Mudgee on Saturday. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

The Dubbo Kangaroos can push themselves into the Blowes Clothing Cup top five if they can record their second win of the new season on Saturday.

The Rhinos will host Mudgee at Caltex Oval, with a big crowd assured to the fact the club will be conducting its annual ladies day.

And with two consecutive wins and a boost up the ladder as a lure, coach Dave Stuart is hopeful his charges are up to the task.

Since rejoining the top flight competition the Rhinos have been competitive at times, but their start to 2017 has been particularly encouraging.

They were competitive for 40 minutes against defending premiers Orange Emus in round one, before going down the Mitchell Highway and beating CSU in Bathurst.

“We’re improving, and hopefully we can string a few wins together from here,” Stuart said.

“Emus were ultimately too classy for us, but to go and win in Bathurst against CSU gave the boys a lot of confidence, particularly given we had a break after that.”

Mudgee sit at the bottom of the competition ladder, having conceded 150 points through the first fortnight of the 2017 season.

But Stuart knows his team isn’t in a position to be complacent, despite going in as warm favourites.

“It will be tough. Mudgee will have a lot to prove and they will see this as a game they can win too,” he said.

“They have had a couple of big losses, and they won’t want that to happen again. They always play a tough style of rugby up the middle, and I expect they will bring that again on Saturday.

“We will have a good crowd on hand for Ladies Day and being back at Caltex Oval as well, so hopefully there will be a lot of atmosphere and we can come away with the win.”

The Rhinos will be boosted by the return of winger Sione Hafoka, while the club faithful will get their first chance to look at Scottish import Ross Gilmour.

The fullback/fly-half only arrived in the country earlier this week, and Stuart said he will filter him into his squad.

“Ross will have a run in second grade on Saturday, and we’ll put him on the bench for firsts and try to introduce him at some stage for a few minutes,” he said.

“He came out on the recommendation of Ben Patterson, who played for us last year, so it’s good to continue that association through the Ayr club in Scotland.

“We’ve got a couple of new combinations this weekend with Ross here and Sione coming back, but our forward pack is the same and the halves as well, so we are building the basis of a solid core within our team.”

Play in Saturday’s first grade match will commence at 3.15pm.