Colby Schrader.Maitland Pickers will take no prisoners in defence when face Central Newcastle on Sunday.
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Pickers captain Colby Schrader said lapses in defensive communication had been identified as one of the key issues during the club’s soul-searching session on Monday.

“We’ve been leaking too many points – on average 20 points a game,” he said.

“For 10-15 minute periods there is not a team in the league who could break our line.

“But then the communication has dropped off and holes appear and we have two or three tries scored against us.

“We are scoring points, so it really does come down to keeping our defensive line solid and communicating better for the entire 80 minutes.

“We lost our last two games by four and six points, if they had have gone the other way we wouldn’t have needed a meeting.”

The Pickers have three training sessions this week, with a session on Monday following the players’ talk, a Tuesday session which incorporated under 17s from the region and Friday’s final session before Sunday’s game at St John Oval.

Schrader said the team would be finalised on Friday, but halfback Jade Porter would be missing because of playing commitments with Country NSW.

He said Darcy Etrich had done a good job in Porter’s absence last week, but it was a tough call with the dummy-half playing out of position.

The Pickers go into the round 13 clash in fifth position on the Newcastle Rugby League four points behind Wests, but with a game in hand.

Schrader said the playing group was still very confident of going well in the finals.

“We’re not too concerned about making the finals, but we do have to start winning to get ourselves in the form we need to reach our goals,” Schrader said.

“Semis football is a whole different competition and we believe we have the experience to give it another real good shot.”

In other round 13 matches Macquarie Scorpions take on Lakes United at home on Saturday, Port Stephens Sharks meet South Newcastle at Lakeside Sporting Complex and Western Suburbs host Cessnock at home on Sunday.

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