IT’S derby day at Broomfield tomorrow (3.0) and although Old Crossleyans won the corresponding fixture 31-16 towards the end of last season, there is no doubt that Old Brodleians have the momentum this time.
The Woodhead men are the only side in North One East with the maximum 10 points from two games while Crocs are one of three sides in the section yet to pick up a point.
There is already one direct form line. Brods beat Northern 34-17 at home in their opening game while Crocs went down 24-8 to the same opponents in the north east last weekend.
Crocs will be hoping home advantage will help them bridge the gap but Brods beat them twice early last season.
Home skipper James Wheelwright believes the absence of front rowers Mark Palmer (retired) and Richard Wheale (injured) means Crocs may find it difficult to boss the scrums, as they have in previous meetings with the Brods.
He believes the contest could be decided in the backs and knows his men must cut out the errors and get their act together.
“We need to be better in the backs because we haven’t really looked like scoring,” he said.
“The effort and desire were there at Northern last week and we had a lot of possession in their 22 in the first half but were unable to turn it into points.”
The return of Gareth Ott at stand off tomorrow, which frees player-coach Chris Jones to partner Jack Hamond in the centre and Chris Seymour to return to fullback, should help their cause.
The front five is likely to be unchanged but Simon Normanton returns to the back row for Rob Oliver. No 8 Manny Riaz may have to work, so Tom Earle is on stand-by.
Brods swept aside Gateshead 55-18 last week, blowing away their opponents in the opening 40 minutes.
They looked set for a tough season with the loss of half a dozen key players but the Woodhead production line has again come up trumps with 18-year-old stand off Danny Wood among those adapting to the higher grade like a duck to water.
He slotted eight goals out of eight last week while half-back partner Joe Armitage has started the season like a house on fire, powering over for four tries against Gateshead.
The pack should remain unchanged although back rower Stevie Shaw, who came on from the bench last week, is unavailable due to a calf strain.
Kyle Millward is likely to take his slot after a knee injury while prop Dave Skinner is also available and will probably join Millward on the bench instead of Luke Donlan, who is carrying a slight knee injury.
The forwards were tremendous last week, dominating their bigger Gateshead counterparts.
Olly Hawkins and Olly Davidson are working well in the second row and Olly Akroyd, Luke Scrimshaw and Ryan Harris produced powerful running and ball winning qualities from the back row.
Jamie McLaughlin was outstanding at prop and capped a quality game with Brods’ last try.
The three quarters could be unchanged, although Aaron Fowler will come back into contention.
Chris Hartley has a big job at inside centre to straighten the attack and defend well in another area Crocs will target.
Brods seconds are at home to Sheffield.