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Hot-to-trot team the Cromwell Goats is not getting carried away as it prepares to take on Wakatipu in Queenstown tomorrow.
The Goats blitzed Wakatipu 60-33 and 56-24 in 2020, scoring 16 tries in the process, which suggests another one-sided contest.
But Goats manager Russell Decke said the team was wary of Wakatipu, which opened its 2021 campaign with a 31-7 win against Alexandra.
“There have been rumours that Wakatipu are weak,” Decke said.
‘‘But we’re not falling into that trap. That was a good win over Alexandra — they’ll be tough at home.”
One player Wakatipu will not have to worry about on this
occasion is fullback Kane Dodds, the competition’s leading points-scorer last season with 95.
A serious back injury has sidelined him to the extent he may not feature in the competition at all this season.
The Goats have made one change, hooker Jackson Clark being unavailable. His replacement is Blair Laughton.
Wakatipu coach Brett Anderson concedes his team will not be the favourite.
“They are the form team but we have some talented players in our team, who will make their mark I’m sure.”
These include fullback Chris Talanoa, a former North Otago player who has been travelling overseas, and hooker Jake McEwan, who was man of the match against Alexandra.
Maniototo will be seeking to achieve an 80-minute effort against Upper Clutha at Ranfurly after blowing a 10-point advantage in the final stages against the Cromwell Cavaliers first up.
The Willie Miller-coached team also started last season’s campaign indifferently, building into some strong form later in the season, which included a massive upset against Arrowtown.
First five-eighth Daniel Adam directed play well against the Cavaliers but will be hoping his goal-kicking is more accurate this week.
Upper Clutha hit the half-century mark against Matakanui Combined, running in nine tries, but will find life more challenging at Ranfurly.
Matakanui Combined and Alexandra will each be looking for vast improvement, and first championship points, when they meet at Omakau.
When they clashed last season Matakanui Combined snuck home by a solitary point. It could be that close again tomorrow.
Arrowtown will be looking to register its first competition points when it tackles Cromwell Cavaliers at Anderson Park, Cromwell.
Manager Rory Martin says the team went away from its defeat against the Goats knowing there was plenty to work on, particularly when it comes to passing.
“We dusted off the cobwebs last Saturday, so we’re looking towards a more accomplished performance this week,’’ he said.
In the corresponding game last season, Arrowtown won 66-7.
- Bob Howitt