Wednesday 15 September 2010

Morningside are contemplating unleashing ‘secret weapon’ David Lillico on Labrador as they attempt to claim back-to-back QAFL premierships at Giffin Park, Coorparoo on Sunday.

The Panthers go into the 2010 grand final as underdogs, having lost to Labrador at their last two meetings.

Wily coach John Blair will have to come up with some new tricks against a Labrador outfit that contains four quality ex-AFL players in Tim Notting, Peter Everitt, Aaron Shattock and Trent Knobel.

“We have to change things around a bit and I think we’ve got the personnel to do that,” Blair told The South-East Advertiser newspaper.

“We still might have to bring in a ‘new’ recruit in Lillico, so we’ll see what happens there.”

Lillico has been one of the competition’s best players over the last decade, but missed 16 weeks due to a knee reconstruction.

He has played one senior game and then three reserves games since, being included high in the Panthers’ best player list in the reserves’ remarkable one-point win over Mt Gravatt last Sunday.

That result means the Panthers have the chance to defend their crown in both seniors and reserves.

“It’s good because everybody’s still together as a group,” Blair said of the dual qualification.

“We’re a strong, proud club and been able to do things together in the past. There’s nothing worse than some guys having the opportunity to celebrate and some guys not, so everyone on the list has a chance to experience grand final week.”

Blair praised his coaching staff for their input in helping the Panthers to reach their sixth grand final in the last eight years.

“Clint Watts has brought a lot to the club, Matthew Smith is a former Zillmere player who lives in Morningside and has been really, really good,” Blair said.

“Travis Hubble has been fantastic in terms of defensive pressure and the back half, and Mark Holman has been tremendous with everything he has done at training and the time he freely gives to the players.

“You also just can’t beat the CDM (club development manager) in Jack (Barry). He’s helped set up a structure both playing staff wise and coaching wise that history shows has been the best roster in the last five years. He’s been fantastic.”

Blair’s players were outstanding last week in their seven-point preliminary final win over Southport, with Aaron Rogers, Nathan Kinch, Jarrod Price, Paul Shelton and Alastair Nash featuring strongly in Nick Tomlinson’s memorable 150th game.

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