Wellington and Geurie to battle in latest Oilsplus Cup derby

RETURN TO ACTION: Keiran Brien is one of only a handful of Wellington premiership winners back at the Redbacks this season. Photo: SIMONE McMANUS
RETURN TO ACTION: Keiran Brien is one of only a handful of Wellington premiership winners back at the Redbacks this season. Photo: SIMONE McMANUS

There was a moment last Saturday where new Wellington coach Sam Webster truly realised how heated the rivalry between the Redbacks and the Geurie Goats is.

"It came out over the microphone Geurie was getting beat and the crowd erupted," Webster said.

It's worth pointing out Wellington were playing Molong at the time and the Goats were 200km away in Coonabarabran.

"I've never been a part of it but there were a few blokes injured last week and would probably be out for a couple of weeks but they said they'll just get strapped up," Webster said.

"It's fierce."

The old foes will do battle again this weekend in the second round of the Oilsplus Cup.

Both had losses last weekend, providing more motivation ahead of the local derby.

But rather than focus too much on the opposition, Webster is firmly focused on the Redbacks rebuild.

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Wellington won the premiership last year but the side has changed plenty since then, with some retiring and others taking the year off after so much uncertainty due to COVID-19.

The season started with a heavy 29-0 loss at Molong but the new coach remains upbeat.

"There was a lot of errors but they never stopped trying. That's what I was most proud of," he said.

"We did what we could but they gave it 100% and were hurting after the game but they never stopped."

The feeling around the club is another real positive with the women's side looking like a genuine contender this year while there was a bumper crowd on hand in round one.

"After the game we had a quick presentation and everyone stayed and was having a beer and that's what it's all about," Webster said.

"It's about building the attitude and that culture at the club so people want to play here and gave a good time.

"It's there but we're building on it. It's all promising and positive and we're doing the hard work to rebuild and get back strong again."

Webster will again look to one of the side's older heads, Andrew Glover, to set the tone this weekend while a number of the new younger faces at the club also showed promise last weekend.

Daniel Stanley, Brad O'Brien, and Wallace Bruce were all singled out by their coach for putting in a huge shift in what was a difficult match at times last weekend.

The Geurie squad has also undergone a huge amount of change since last season - most notably losing Filisione Pauta and Moa Kavaefiafi to the Dubbo Kangaroos - and the side is coming off a 42-7 loss in the first round.

Kick-off at Geurie Showground is 3.15pm on Saturday.