Defence key for Crushers
HERBERT River Crushers coach Ian Schifilitti insists winning the TDRL minor premiership won’t be their focus when they host the Western Lions in a blockbuster final- round clash tomorrow.
The Crushers need to beat the first- placed Lions by 23 points or more to lock up top spot ahead of next weekend’s finals, while also hoping that Brothers don’t beat Burdekin by more than 58 points.
It’s a complicated scenario and one that Schifilitti said Herbert River won’t be concerning themselves with, instead aiming to lift their intensity with a win over the competition’s benchmark team.
“To be honest with for and against the way it is, we’re just trying to get a win up heading into semi- finals. We want to put a semi- final intensity into this game,” the coach said.
“We’re actually pretty much 1- 17 from last week and might have the return of Lindsey Kirk out on the wing. It’s just the one to come back in so we’re not looking too bad.
“It’s a bit of continuity. Every club has injuries, but this year for one rea- son or another we’ve just struggled to put the same team out any longer than two or three games.
“We got a good win last weekend, but I think there’s couple of things we definitely want to look at improving — particularly defensively — heading into the finals.”
The Lions are already pushing for an A- grade premiership in just their second season, but the Crushers are one of just two teams to beat the Heatley- based side this year.
Herbert River prevailed 44- 10 when the two sides met in Ingham in Round 6, but Schifilitti said the Lions had too many attacking weapons to let their guard down. “It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Lions and full credit to ( coach) Josh Towers. He’s moved them a long way in 12 months,” Schifilitti said.
Meanwhile, Norths will have one last shot to secure a breakthrough victory when they host University at Peggy Banfield Park tonight.
The last clash between the competition’s cellar dwellers ended in a 36- all stalemate and both sides will be determined to finish their seasons on a high.
In Sunday’s matches, third- placed Brothers will be out to make a statement before the finals against Burdekin at Jack Manski Oval, while Centrals will take on Charters Towers at Townsville Sports Reserve.