By Beth Newman
There are plenty of theories about how to treat a bye week, and two converse approaches will come head to head on Saturday at Salk Oval, when Palm Bach hosts Sandgate.
The Lions took it easy over the bye, with coach Daryn Cresswell giving his charges a chance to recharge and get away from footy for a bit.
On the other hand, Sandgate had a training camp and put in plenty of hard yards over the break.
Both Cresswell and Hawks coach, Rob Dickfos, have seen positive results on the track this week and say they’re ready to go for tomorrow’s match.
With his side facing their toughest challenge of the season, Dickfos said he would be looking for his side to continue the effort and endeavour that the competition has come to expect of them regardless of the final score.
“This season has never been about looking for a win, that’s just something that’s a bonus,” he said.
“Being a developing side, we want to make sure we’re continuing to improve. If the effort and intent are there, we’re happy.”
The Hawks have made a habit of surprising some teams this season and while Dickfos said the Lions weren’t exactly vulnerable, they might be expecting an easy win.
“I don’t think they’ll be overly concerned, they’ll be thinking if they do their job and follow their processes and work somewhere near their capabilities, they can win,” he said.
“We’re respectful and aware of our opposition, they are the yardstick and have been since day one.”
Spectators should expect a fairly attacking game, with both sides among the fittest in the competition, but up against the highly skilled Lions, Dickfos said they would be looking to pressure every disposal.
“The biggest problem is our use of the ball and our skill level and that’s where they’ll have it over us,” he predicted.
“We’re hoping that whatever skill level is applied, that they have to execute under intense pressure.”
The Hawks have made only two changes to the side since their Rd 10 victory over Noosa, bringing in Sam Lubke for Jonathan Giles and Tom Waterman for Ben Beaven.
Palm beach welcomes back Sam Bourke and Tim Fielding into their side from injury, in a move that injects some experience back into the team.
With a relatively difficult run home, a win tomorrow is important for the Lions in their bid for the minor premiership, but Cresswell wasn’t willing to play up the importance of the game.
“It’s just about winning the games you need to,” he said.
This is no different to the rest of our games but we don’t want to open ourselves up to losing top spot.
“We’ve worked really hard to get ourselves in that position.”
Cresswell said his side certainly wouldn’t be complacent going into the match against the seventh-placed Hawks, having seen them push Grange earlier this season.
“They’re a good young side and they’ve got a lot of energy and they run hard, so our guys are certainly aware of it,” he said.
“We need to bring our best game to the table to win.
“We’re certainly not going to underestimate them at all.”
While they might have it over the Hawks in terms of experience, Creswell said the players like Tom Overington would be very dangerous.
“Overington is a class player, but we’ve certainly got some big bodies and a lot of experience.”
“We need to make sure to use that to their advantage.”
There are plenty of other interesting match ups this weekend, across the south-east corner.
Burleigh hosts the Magpies, in a crucial match for the visitors as they look to cement their top five spot.
Springwood travels to Noosa, looking to claw back their top spot from Palm Beach with a potentially big win on the cards.
There’s a local derby down at Sir Bruce Small Oval, with Surfers taking on Cooly.
This match is probably one of the most intriguing of the lot, and it will be a vital one for the Demons to win to reinforce their status as finals contenders.
UQ takes on Mayne at Oval 7.
The Tigers welcome a number of players back from injury and will be fired up after big couple of weeks.
Wrapping up the Round 11 action, is a match between Wilston Grange and Maroochydore.
Similarly to the Demons, every game is important for the Gorillas in the run home and they will be hoping for another victory tomorrow.
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