The Hills District Bulls will enter Round 11 of the Sydney Shield sitting in first place, despite having played fewer games than second-placed Windsor Wolves.
All of the sides from third to eighth place are all within one win of each other, which means teams are under pressure to maintain their spot on the ladder.
One of these teams is the fourth-placed East Campbelltown Eagles, who will face the challenge of playing the competition front-running Bulls this Sunday at Crestwood Oval.
The Bulls have had a strong start to the season, however their last month has been disruptive. In the last month, the Bulls have notched up one win and a draw while having the bye while having a match abandoned due to poor weather.
Coach Paul Griffin says to overcome the Eagles, they will have to concentrate on their own form rather than worrying about what East Campbelltown will throw at them.
“We’ve just been worrying about our own stuff,” says Griffin. “Our form in the last month hasn’t been that good, so we’re concentrating on getting our own stuff right.
“Controlling the football is the biggest thing of any team and that’s hurt us lately.”
The Bulls will be without in-form fullback Scott Hogan this week who has had an explosive try-scoring ratio this season averaging at over one try per game.
However, Griffin insists this major loss is not a major concern, with Bevan De Vries named as his replacement.
“[Hogan] has been exceptional,” says Griffin. “He will be a loss, but we’ve got a bit of talent there who should be able to fill in for him.”
The Eagles have had a positive start to the season, winning five of their eight games and currently sitting in the top four.
Winners of their past three matches, the Eagles carry momentum into this weekend when they take on the competition leaders.
This game is important for both sides with the result of this match meaning a major shuffle inside the top four. The Eagles could drop out of the four if they lose, whilst the Bulls could lose the top spot if the result does not go their way.