SHOALHAVEN coach Paul Connor is confident the return of Mark Brandon will spark his side when they host Shamrocks on Saturday afternoon.
While there will be no finals played this year, the match remains a crucial one, with both teams eager to finish inside the top four.
Brandon returned from injury in second grade last weekend before sparking a furious comeback in the final 15 minutes of first grade.
The skilful back played a key role as his side slashed a 33-point deficit, Shoalhaven eventually falling short of a miracle comeback in a 45-40 loss to Campbelltown.
With a run under his belt, Connor is confident Brandon will play a key role in Saturday's clash.
"We're just trying to play an uptempo game this weekend," Connor said. "
We've had some injuries in our pack, which means we have to play faster.
"We'll try to speed up the game with our smaller side and hopefully beat them around the field with a bit of fitness and speed.
"Mark Brandon is coming back from injury, he played seconds last week and is back into ones this week.
"That will certainly assist us with our potential to score points."
Shamrocks have enjoyed a form resurgence of late, winning their last three after a slow start to the season.
The 2019 grand finalists currently sit in fifth on the ladder, just one point behind Shoalhaven and Connor knows his side must avoid any lapses in concentration if they are to secure the win.
"They've had some pretty good results of late," Connor said.
"From a slow start to the season, the results in the last few weeks have been very good. It will be a challenging match for us.
"Shamrocks are always technically quite a strong side, a good rugby side. They'll probably look to play a fairly fast game.
"They're good at the breakdown, so the challenge for us will be to match them at the breakdown."
Saturday's other games will see Avondale attempt to tighten their grip on the trophy when they host Vikings.
Campbelltown will look to maintain contact with the ladder leaders when they travel south to face Kiama, while Tech will play Camden at University Oval.
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