Northern Suburbs set to face “toughest test yet” one year after last loss

Northern Suburbs haven’t lost a Shute Shield match in over a year.

The Shoreman have now won 19 straight matches dating back to round nine in early May last season, however coach Simon Cron thinks his side will face it’s toughest challenge yet this weekend when they take on Manly in a top of the table clash.

“Yeah, I think it’s probably our toughest test yet for sure. We’re missing a lot of guys and we’re facing a very good Manly side that are playing with a lot of confidence,” Cron said.

“We’ve had a bad run of injuries and we had a few more last week against Easts, which makes it tough when we’ve got Hugh Sinclair, Will Miller and Nick Palmer all out. In saying that though, it gives new guys an opportunity to play first grade and helps build our depth.”

While Melbourne Rebels recruits Sinclair and Miller are set to miss the clash, Norths may be boosted by the inclusion of their Waratahs representatives – Irae Simone, Bryce Hegarty, Cam Clark and Angus Ta’avao.

“I think a few of them will be rested, so I’m waiting to hear who we’ll get. Hopefully we’ll see one or two of them because they always help our guys lift,” Cron said.

The Kiwi born coach is currently in Canberra with the Australian U20s squad, but said he’s still keeping a close eye on Norths’ preparations.

“Manly have been really strong and I think they’ve set the benchmark so far this year. It’s going to be a big test but we’ll be working on a few things this week to make sure we are ready.”

Norths almost came unstuck against Eastern Suburbs last Saturday before grinding out a 24-22 win in what Cron described as an uncharacteristic performance by his side.

“We probably left a few points on the park against Easts and we weren’t very clinical. That put pressure on us so we need to decrease our basic errors and make sure everyone plays their role this weekend.”