Lake Macquarie welcome back captain Brendan Holliday from injury and president Matt Bartley is hopeful the fly-half will be joined by threes other for the clash against Hamilton at Passmore Oval.
Holliday has missed the past two thrashings at the hands of Wanderers (113-14) and Merewether (134-12) which has raised doubts over the Roos future in the top tier.
“Brendan returns which will make a difference and we also expect Chris Hunt, Jack Ogilvy and Daniel Faafete to be available,” Bartley said. “At the start of the year, we were looking strong. We lost 12 first-graders in a short period of time. It has been very hard to find 15 first-graders over night. We still have some bloody good footballer but we also have some blokes who should not be playing first grade.”
The Roos will be without Country prop Barcelona Lupematasila for three games after he took an early guilty plea on a lifting tackle charge from the Merewether loss.
Bartley said the plan was to “battle on, build up and try to be competitive”.
“We have 200 juniors which includes 28 under-17s,” he said. “Our focus is getting through this year and getting our juniors into the system. We will need to recruit during in the off-season and hopefully we get back some players who left this season to Sydney and elsewhere.”
* Southern Beaches will defend the Tony Wansey Shield when they take on Wanderers at No.2 Sportsground.
* The Waratahs and Easts will battle for the Andrew Turner and John Tsoprow Trophies when they meet at Waratah Oval on Saturday.
The Turner Trophy will go the winner on Saturday while the Tsoprow Trophy is won by the team that has the best combined score over their two encounters.
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