We ek’s rest gives Lions winning edge
A week off did the Mt Albert Lions the world of good.
The minor premiership runners-up won a spot in the Fox Memorial league fi nal.
Their strong fi nish in the competition earned them a break before Saturday’s semifi nal, where they overcame East Coast Bays 32-12 at Fowlds Park.
In Saturday’s fi nal they face top qualifi ers Otahuhu, who took out Marist 31-20 in the other semifi nal.
Mt Albert coach Brent Gemmell says the week off allowed his players to get back to full fi tness before the clash against East Coast Bays.
“It gave us the opportunity to nurse a few injuries. It’s the fi rst time in the last seven rounds that we’ve not had to bring anyone up from reserve grade.”
He says the Lions were on attack for much of the game, and defended well when they were in their own half of the ground.
“We executed the stuff we’ve done all year and made sure we played to our strengths in the right parts of the fi eld.”
As for the Fox Memorial final itself, Gemmell says both sides are very evenly matched.
game against Otahuhu was a real battle. The key to the weekend for us is to ensure we play with the right intensity.”
Gemmell says his side has plenty of fi nals experience with players such as standoff Steve Buckingham turning out for the Auckland Lions in the now defunct Bartercard Cup over the years.
But he knows they can’t take that experience for granted. “Experience means nothing if you don’t show up with the right attitude,” he says.
In second- tier Sharman Cup action Richmond defeated Pakuranga 42-22 to claim a place in the fi nal, where they will face Manurewa.
Both premier matches take place at Mt Smart Stadium 2 on Saturday, with the Sharman Cup fi nal kicking off at 12.45pm and the Fox Memorial starting at 3pm.
O n t h e ch a rg e :
Mt Alber t second rowe r Sala Fa’alogo bu rsts through the East Coast Bays defence dur ing their Fox M e m o r i a l l e a g u e s e m i final at Fowlds Pa r k on Saturday.