Falcon bemoans forced absence of an NRL star
RISING Sunshine Coast Falcons pivot Brett Doherty says he is disappointed to hear Gold Coast Titans star Albert Kelly will not be available for this afternoon's Intrust Super Cup showdown at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Named to start in the centres for Tweed Heads, Kelly will have to withdraw after reportedly accepting a plea deal for his involvement in Cronulla's 2011 supplements program.
The 23-year-old's absence hurts the Seagulls, but Doherty is disappointed he will not get the opportunity to test himself against one of the game's most dynamic playmakers.
"It's good for the team if he's not playing, but it's disappointing for me because I want to play against him," Doherty said.
"You've seen what he can do at the NRL level and it's always a great challenge when you can play against someone like that."
Kelly bolted into contention for a New South Wales jersey after an explosive start to the season before being derailed by injuries and having to make his way back into the NRL side.
Having returned through the Intrust Super Cup last week, he will not play again this season after pleading guilty to charges resulting from Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation into Cronulla.
Kelly would have been a major weapon for a Tweed team that needs to win to make the finals and Doherty believes the Falcons can take advantage of his absence.
The halfback said the Coast had taken plenty of notes from last week's rival, Norths, on how to handle wet and windy conditions.
The Devils played perfect wet weather football last week, completing more than 80% of their sets to cruise to a 36-0 win.
"They just did all the 'one-percenters'," Doherty said.
"They just completed, made tackles, ran hard, tackled hard and did all the basics.
"That's what it comes down to in the wet weather and hopefully the weather isn't wet, but if it is we need to handle it better.
"You don't need the flashy stuff. All their tries were just simple hard runs and they just did everything right."
Doherty said his side was determined to give home fans something to cheer about after enduring a one-win campaign and plenty of tough losses.
There is another motivation, too, for the wooden spooners.
"It would be good to spoil it for Tweed," Doherty said.
"Enough teams have done it to us this year, so it would be good to do it to someone else."
SUNSHINE COAST v TWEED HEADS
Today, Kawana, 4pm