SUITABLY embarrassed Sandgate have worked on ways to improve on a number of areas in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash with northern Brisbane rivals Mayne.
The Hawks, beaten by 87 points by their 2010 grand final conquerors, have plenty to do to atone for that effort, although captain-coach Ben Long is confident some soul-searching at training during the week has worked in the side’s favour.
“They (the players) certainly weren’t rapt in it,” responded Lon when asked if the Noosa loss was, indeed, embarrassing for the club.
“But I reckon it was just one of those days. Noosa would have beaten anybody the way they played. They didn’t make a mistake.”
Long said the Sandgate performance was best assigned to the dump, but conceded there are areas his players need to quickly brush up on.
“There are a few issues we have dealt with,” he said. “Our contested footy was one areas where we struggled.
“And we didn’t adapt to the tough stuff too well.”
Making matters worse for the Hawks was an injury to on-baller Sean Cornish
(broken jaw). He is one of two changes to the side to play Mayne. The other is Queensland under-18 squad member Luke Reynolds.
The Hawks have handed debut seniors appearances to defender Craig Carmichael, a former Zillmere and Aspley player, and wingman Curtis Ricker, who earlier this season was in the original Queensland under-18 squad.
Long said Sandgate are still missing nine of their top 22 players, including Ben Drew and Danny Dickfos.
He is wary of Mayne who are still winless but definitely a danger.
“They have been competitive every game, for two or three quarters, this year,”: said Long. “I have a feeling they’re due to put in a four-quarter effort and I’m a bit wary that it won’t happen against us.
“We have to move forward from last week. It’s either bounce back or wallow away.
“A loss this weekend could cost us a top-three finish – and that is our priority.”
Mayne have four changes, bringing in Sam Patterson, Tom Ditchburn, Mark Griggs and Mitch Smith.
But the Tigers have lost co-captain Jeames Gillett (badly bruised leg), Matt Hungerford (returned to Mackay), Damien Doolan (work) and Bill Stephens (broken finger).
“We know we’ve struggled this year, but if we can play four quarters we can match it with anyone,” said player-coach Luke Faulkner.
“But it’ll be difficult this weekend with so many outs, which will hurt us.”