IT is time to for Palm Beach-Currumbin to turn from ‘perhapsers’ to the real deal when they take on fierce rivals Noosa in the battle of the Coasts at Salk Oval.
Assistant coach Darren Beaufoy knows only too well that it is crunch time for the Lions – and even for premiers Noosa – with seven rounds remaining to the finals.
By Terry Wilson
Noosa are fourth on the points table with 24 points, four behind second and third sides Wilston-Grange and Western Magpies and eight off the pace being set by Sandgate.
They need to beat the Lions to stay in the hunt for the vital top-three for the finals.
PBC, on the other hand, have only 16 points and would likely drop back into a four-way dogfight for that fifth finals spot should they surrender to the Tigers.
A win, though, would keep alight the flicker of the finals double chance for the Lions.
“This is a crucial game for us,” said Beaufoy, deputising for unavailable coach Craig O’Brien.
“Where we’re sitting on the ladder is probably where the team’s at.”
PBC have yet to beat one of the top four sides this season and it is time that statistic was changed, said Beaufoy.
“There’s talent and potential there in the team but obviously it has not been fulfilled yet because we haven’t been getting the points,” he said.
The former OPBC club champion also noted PBC’s poor finishes in losses to the top sides, including last week when they were overrun by Sandgate.
The Lions have a couple of handy ins this weekend. Central defender Chris Williams and gun forward Lee Clark are back, alongside Nick Burton up from the under-18s.
Out are Matt Dwyer, Troy Brown and Stephan Thynne.
Noosa have a couple of injury problems, losing roving goalsneak Travis Mills (broken bone in his hand) and Ryan Sawers (ribs) adding to the unavailability of Chris McGuigan.
But the Tigers welcome back 2009 Pineapple Hotel Cup Team of the Year member Zac Smith, 2010 premiership team member Brooks Durdin and utility Jack Hendrie.
“The guys coming in are certainly handy,” noted coach Wayne Fletcher.
Fletcher has also noted PBC’s final-term shortcomings this year but is hoping that run continues for another weeke4nd at least.
“That has been the story of their season but you’d think it will change at some stage – just hopefully not this weekend,” he said.
“There are not too many bigger challenges than travelling to Palm Beach – and we always have close, though battles against them.”