HUNTER Wildfires coach Brooke Saunders has challenged the mother-daughter combination of Tammy and Candice Clay to take on the much-vaunted Western Sydney pack in the penultimate round of the Jack Scott Cup at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday.
Tammy returns from injury at tighthead prop, with Candice shifting back to lock.
It's the first time they have started together in the Jack Scott Cup and Saunders hopes it brings the best out in them against a Two Blues eight anchored by Wallaroo Evelyn Horomia.
"The Two Blues have a dominant forward pack," Saunders said. "Tammy gives us that extra bit of experience and her and Candice combine well together. Candice is very much a ball runner, she will take the line on and offload. Tammy is more a grunt player in the middle. The scrum is going to very important. Our scrum has been strong."
Clay is one of three changes from the come-from-behind 21-10 win over Warringah. Sophie Clancy comes in at fly-half with Sian Filipo dropping to fullback. Taylah Juckes replaces Darcy Gillett on the wing.
"Taylor gives us more size on the wing, which we need against the Two Blues," Saunders said.
The Wildfires are fifth on 20 points, behind Easts on points differential, and four points adrift of the Two Blues. Warringah are also on 20 points and meet cellar dwellers Gordon on Saturday. The top five play finals.
"The lost to Easts [a fortnight ago] by a try hurt us," Saunders. "It is what it is. We only came together three weeks before the comp started and have done really well."
"We have a really good vibe at the moment. We are coming off a great win last week. We won that in the second half, we really had to push and come back. Hopefully we can play like that from the start. I just want the girls to enjoy themselves and come off the park knowing they have given it everything. "
As well as Horomia, the Two Blues boast fellow Wallaroo Mahalia Murphy (fullback) and NSW Super W fly-half Pauline Pilae.
"We don't have a team boasting a heap of Super W players," Saunders said. "We have Ash Walker (Melbourne Rebels) but other than that we are a group of country girls who have been thrown together.
"some of the new girls don't know who the Wallaroos are until we point it out. Most of the time we don't mention they are playing against Australian or super W players. The girls who have been around a while are smart enough and mature enough to realise regardless of the stature they are just players."
Wildfires: 1 Maryann Utai, 2 Skye Lovett, 3 Tammy Clay, 4 Candice Clay, 5 Kate Holland, 6 Emma Bradford, 7 Kayla Waldron, 8 Kaitlan Leaney, 9 Peta Salter, 10 Sophie Clancy, 11 Anika butler, 12 Ashleigh Walker, 13 Liz Kennedy, 14 Taylah Juckes, 15 Sian Filipo.
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