Stags eye Open Division top two

DEFEAT in last year's Challenge Cup grand final is firing Lowood-Tarampa for an assault on this year's Open Division One competition.

The Stags sit third on the ladder, a win behind Rosewood and two wins ahead of fourth-placed Goodna, who they play at Lowood tomorrow evening.

The stags are coming off a 36-24 win to runaway competition leader Springfield and have shared a win and a loss against Goodna this season.

"Defence is the key," Stags captain-coach Mick Frohloff said.

Not helping was the loss of hooker Ray Erbacher with a broken arm against Springfield.

Into his place at dummy half comes Lucas Chain.

"He's a smart player who talks a lot and won't miss anything in defence."

While the Stags sit third on the ladder, second place would give them a second bite of the cherry come finals time.

That means probably having to win their remaining four games, with the final one against Rosewood likely to determine which of the country teams finishes second.

Frohloff expects his team to finish the season strongly and is backing them on two counts.

One is fitness, the other desire.

"The grand final loss is fresh in our minds," Frohloff said.

"I think we'll step it up a gear when we get to finals.

"There's plenty of confidence in the boys.

"It will all come back in the finals and how important it is to them."

When it comes to the team's fitness, Frohloff is a prime example.

Two years ago, he was a 111kg front rower.

Now, at 90kg, he is able to play wherever he's most needed.

"Fitness is a big part," he said of his team's title prospects. "And the simple things."