Lions rest and re­cover be­fore Fox Memo­rial do-or- die time

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Mor­gan

A well-earned week off is set to re­ju­ve­nate the Mt Al­bert Lions at the busi­ness end of the Fox Memo­rial league se­ries.

Mt Al­bert get a break af­ter they thumped the Pa­pakura Sea Ea­gles 66-6 in the first round of the play­offs at Fowlds Park on Satur­day.

Lions coach Brent Gem­mell says his side were “a lit­tle bit wob­bly” in the first 20 min­utes of the match, but soon turned things around.

“We failed to com­plete some sets, but soon set­tled back down into our game.

“The key mes­sage at half­time was to play at a semi­fi­nal stan­dard.”

And that’s just what Gem- mell’s play­ers did, putting on 42 unan­swered points in the sec­ond spell af­ter lead­ing 246 at the break.

Gem­mell won’t know who his side will face in their pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal on Septem­ber 13 un­til this Satur­day’s matches are com­pleted.

But he is con­fi­dent his play­ers can main­tain their fo­cus through the right prep- ara­tion at train­ing dur­ing the week.

“The key thing for us is the need to keep up our own in­ten­sity be­cause the next game is do or die for both teams,” he says.

“Ul­ti­mately you’ve got to go into the fi­nals in the right state of mind. We’ll keep the guys to­gether and fo­cused on foot­ball.”

He says the time off will al­low sev­eral play­ers to re­cover from nig­gling in­juries.

Marist also made it to the next round, up­set­ting East Coast Bays 22-18 at Frey­berg Park.

In the sec­ond-tier Shar­man Cup com­pe­ti­tion Rich­mond de­feated Eller­slie 48-26, while Bay Roskill over­came Pon­sonby 24-18.

While Mt Al­bert have Satur­day off, Marist play Glenora at Harold Moody Park.

And in the Shar­man Cup, top-qual­i­fiers Rich­mond have also earned a break, while Bay Roskill face Paku­ranga at Blockhouse Bay Re­serve and Pon­sonby take on Ma­nurewa at Le­a­bank Park.

All games start at 2.30pm.

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