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Trusty Wakatipu fullback Chris Young will be hoping he rediscovers his goalkicking form for the White Horse Trophy challenge match against the Cromwell Goats at Cromwell tomorrow.
On the challenging shifty turf at Jack Reid Park in Arrowtown last weekend, Young landed just one goal from six attempts and was also astray with a last-gasp drop-kick, allowing Arrowtown to escape with a 17-17 draw.
In dramatic contrast, when Wakatipu downed the Goats 32-25 in this corresponding fixture last season, Young contributed a whopping 22 points, going on to become the competition’s leading points-scorer.
He still had a major influence on the Arrowtown game with his booming, left-footed punts but was disappointed he could not salvage a victory for his team.
He has been practising diligently this week, according to coach Brad Robertson, who is confident that on a better surface, which hopefully Cromwell will offer, Young be back to raising the flags.
The surface at Anderson Park should be in tip-top order for, while Arrowtown had been plagued by heavy frosts, Cromwell has largely been enveloped in fog.
Cromwell lifted the White Horse Trophy from Maniototo last season and defended it against Alexandra and Arrowtown.
Manager Russell Decke reports the team is up for the challenge and has trained on well following the cracking first-up win against Upper Clutha.
The team had one major casualty from that game, with winger George Tiko now on crutches.
"We’ve got depth in the squad to cover for George," Decke, who has enormous respect for Wakatipu, said.
"They’re always tough. They’re big and strong and you have to respect fullback Young’s boot."
Matakanui-Combined went desperately close to victory in its return to the premier competition last week, drawing 13-13 with Maniatoto, and will be looking to go one better against Alexandra at Molyneux Park.
Arrowtown should be too powerful for the Cromwell Cavaliers at Jack Reid Park, a team against which it scored 49 and 50 points last season, but there should not be much between Upper Clutha and Maniatoto at Wanaka.
- Bob Howitt