De­pleted Red­backs still have eyes on the prize

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Antony Ste­wart antony. ste­wart@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au townsville­bul­letin. com. au

STEP­PING up at the busi­ness end of the Townsville Cricket Pre­mier­ship has be­come a habit for Sub­ur­ban Parks in re­cent years.

While struck down by in­jury and un­avail­abil­ity head­ing into this week­end’s semi-fi­nal with Saints, coach Peter McLean said it was not a prac­tice the Red­backs had any plans of kick­ing as they chased a third straight crown.

The Red­backs will field a se­verely weak­ened at­tack mi­nus sec­ond lead­ing wicket taker Peter Drew, Colby Ward and Jon Rein­ders, while Stephen Tay­lor is rated only a ‘‘ 40/ 60’’ chance of play­ing at Tony Ire­land Sta­dium.

‘‘ Each year there has al­ways been a bit of ad­ver­sity at this time and we’ve al­ways stood up and got through it,’’ McLean said.

‘‘ Usu­ally at this time of year our older guys re­ally step up and show the young fel­las how to do it and they all re­spond.

‘‘ They all come to­gether as a group – that’s our strength.’’

Sub­ur­ban Parks and Saints have played three times this year for one win each. But fol­low­ing their sec­ond­place fin­ish in the mi­nor pre­mier­ship, Saints have the up­per hand, need­ing only a draw to progress to the grand fi­nal with Wests.

‘‘ It’s al­ways been now or never for us at this time of year,’’ McLean said.

‘‘ The team com­ing sec­ond can bat for the whole week­end, so it’s up to us to get 10 wick­ets.’’ Play starts at 10am.

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