Group 20 rugby league
STAR Yenda recruit Kodie Charles must pass a fitness test tonight to avoid joining Shannon Rupapere on the sidelines for the Blueheelers' assault on the Paul Kelly Memorial Shield.
Charles picked up a calf injury on Saturday as Yenda qualified for the finals of the knockout tournament tomorrow at EW Moore Oval.
- PICTURES, RESULTS: Paul Kelly Memorial Shield
Rupapere has already been ruled out after badly bruising his knee against Leeton, but despite admitting his side "lacked direction" at the weekend without the pair coach Roy Romeo said the former Waratah Tigers gun would not be risked.
"If he's not fully fit I won't play him," he said.
Nor is he worried about his side malfunctioning without them.
"We lacked a bit of direction after those two went off but we trained well through the week without them.
"We'll be missing a bit of drive without Kodie there in the forwards someone will fill in for him. The job will be done.
"The team we put out on Saturday will certainly be good enough."
The Blueheelers face the Bidgee Hurricanes in the semi-finals and Romeo will be counting on Ben Vitucci getting the job done at pivot alongside halfback David Rauluni in Rupapere's absence.
"Ben's played heaps of halves football in his junior days and he trained there on Tuesday and it looks like he'll slot straight in," Romeo said.
The coach is also wary of a Hurricanes outfit that had a wake-up call on Sunday in a shock first-up loss to Darlington Point-Coleambally.
The joint-venture club recovered by belting the Black and Whites 36-0 in an ominous sign of what Bidgee is capable of when on song.
"All the hype's been on them in the pre-season," Romeo said.
"They had a mishap on the weekend against DPC and I think that will have woken them up, which is bad for us.
"They're going to be pretty good.
"But it's good to have them first-up as well because we'll see where we're at.
"It'd be nice if the boys can get something out of the knockout because they've been working hard.
"Even thought a lot of sides aren't at full strength it'll give them a lot of confidence if they can win it."