No strain as four teams will make finals, in a five-team comp
RUGBY UNION: Maroochydore’s lost its past three outings but coach Simon Lewis is hardly panicking.
The Swans are fourth of five teams on the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union A-grade scene after 12 of 20 rounds and they face a daunting clash with unblemished Noosa at Cotton Tree on Saturday (3.15pm).
But Lewis remains composed and confident his team can still be a title threat.
“We probably need to right the ship a bit, that’ll come,” he said.
“We’ve still got a fair way to go until the end of the season and let’s face it, you’ve only got to finish fourth (to make it into finals).”
“(Then) anything can happen if you make the knock-outs. We saw that a few years ago when Caloundra was minor premier and didn’t make the grand final.”
It occurred last year too, when Noosa dominated most of the campaign only to be picked apart in the playoffs.
“And in 2013 Nnoosa had been undefeated most of the season until we beat them (in the final).”
“They’re having another good year and are a good side and you’ve got your work cut out against them but I think they’re beatable and I think on our day we can beat them.”
“(In fact) you’ve only got to beat them once and that’s in September.”
The Swans have had “difficulties with (players’) availability” in recent weeks.
The team will be without arguably its best player, prop James Turvey, this weekend.
He’s representing Queensland Country on a tour of New Zealand.
But so are a host of Dolphins, including Tom Kearney, Koim Wingti, Napilla Kotoka, Wilson Enoka amd Shaun Payne, which should mean the northerners are more vulnerable than ever this weekend.
For Maroochydore, pivot Pat O’Hehir may lace-up for the first time this year, after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in a pre-season cycling accident.
He would play at flyhalf, with Cole Dalton moving to his preferred centres position.
“He (O’Hehir) is a good presence in the team,” the coach said.
“He brings a lot of go-forward and hits the line hard. He’s a more natural fit at 10.”
In the other game on Saturday, Toads host Caloundra (3.15pm).
Meanwhile, the washed-out round nine fixtures will not be postponed. Instead, the next time those teams meet in the penultimate round, competition points will be worth double.