Kawana shapes up for semi-finals clash with nemesis
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kawana forward Joel Fitzgerald is eagerly anticipating a major semi-final clash with old foe Maroochydore after the last round of the Sunshine Coast division one season was contested during the weekend.
The Dolphins thumped struggler Nambour 64-12 at Crusher Park on Saturday to warm-up for the four-team play-offs.
With second place on the six-team ladder already secured, Fitzgerald admitted his charges all but went through the motions, with thoughts already on the looming clash with the Swans.
"It wouldn't have been the most polished performance," he said. "I think a few of the boys had their eyes set on semi-finals footy."
And the match against the Swans at Buderim should be a beauty. "I'm looking forward to it. It will be a big challenge though. Maroochydore is pretty well drilled," Fitzgerald said.
"I think we've got a pretty good understanding of each other's games now. We've played each other a fair few times over the last few years, in finals as well.
"It was a bit of blow-out last time we played them (36-6 in round 12) so we've got a little bit to work on and we need to make sure we match them for enthusiasm and desire."
The Swans got the better of the Dolphins in the decider last year too.
Fitzgerald was glad to see his side, on a five-game unbeaten run, reach finals again.
"We've had a pretty big player turnover from the start of the year. The team that we ran out in the first couple of rounds ...it would probably be 50 percent different (now) so it's good, without that continuity, to still finish the (regular) season near the top."
With the likes of prop Price Imlach, fullback Karyss Adams and captain Travis Long firing, Kawana looms as a threat.
Maroochydore thumped Caloundra 52-6 while Noosa snared a 32-32 draw against Caboolture at Morayfield to just hang on to the last finals berth.
The Pirates will face Caloundra at Golden Beach in the minor semi-final.
LADDER: Maroochydore 71, Kawana 63, Caloundra 44, Noosa 37, Caboolture 35, Nambour 31 (bold denotes finalists).