Saturday 4 September 2010

Self-belief and the prospect of no tomorrow were two key factors in Southport rediscovering their ‘mojo’ in the first semi-final at Fankhauser Reserve today.

“We watched a DVD the other night of the first five games we played. I think it brought a bit of confidence and self belief that ‘we can do this’,” said Sharks coach Craig Crowley.

“The other thing is that it’s do-or-die, your back’s against the wall. Every week we’ve had another week to redeem ourselves or with the double chance and this time we had to come out the other side, and we did.”

Crowley admitted it worked in his team’s favour by bringing in youngsters Jesse Haberfield, Dalton Tucker and Brodie Grant along with the clever Terry Knight for the clash following injuries to three of their older players.

“The inclusion of some younger blokes gave us a bit,” Crowley said.

“The best thing about a kid is they will give you their all, they’ve got no illusions about the finals situation. ‘Habber’ played his role, Dalton Tucker played his role, they were just tremendous.

“We had some solid tags and had to give them a breather. These young blokes came on and did the job.”

Crowley also released midfielders Matt Payne and Connor Petterson to play their natural games, while giving David Lynch and Adam Devine tagging jobs.

“We didn’t go completely one on one. We gave Payney and Connor open slather. Lynchy and AJ had their roles to play, which they did really well,” Crowley said.

The Sharks coach was just as pleased with the specific tasks performed by a number of other players.

“Mickey Wise’s job on Tom Tarrant was magnificent. Cam Maclaren’s job on Furfaro too.”

The last time the sides met three weeks ago, Furfaro constantly dropped in front of Hughes and helped teammate Adam Tarrant keep the Sharks star to just two goals. The Sharks were also guilty of going to often to their main forward.

Not this time.

“We used the hit up players and exposed Jake in that area. He didn’t have any of the impact he’d been having,” Crowley said.

Asked if the Sharks were ‘back’, Crowley was not making any brash statements.

“A week is a long time in footy,” he said. “You can sit there and go ‘I’d like to play that ‘up’ again.

“The positive is we should be ‘up’ and tomorrow one of those sides (Labrador or Morningside) will be down .

“As long as we implement everything we put into place, anything is possible.”

Mt Gravatt coach David Lake was left to lament his side having ‘one of those days’.

He agreed that his club paid the price for an ordinary first half of the season. While the Vultures certainly believed they could go all the way from fourth place, history suggest it would be difficult.

“We were up for eight weeks last year through to grand final day and I don’t think we were too bad that day. So we were ‘up’, on a high,” Lake said of his side’ barnstorming finish to 2009.

“This was the ninth week this year. Nine weeks is a long, long time to be ‘up’.

“My biggest fear was that we would crash.”

While the Vultures never looked in today’s game at any stage, Lake still believed that they could conjure a miracle when trailed by more than seven goals at the last two changes.

“I still thought we could win at three-quarter-time. I honestly did, and that’s without being an optimist,” he said. “I just felt if we tossed the ball around a bit and played like we trained, we could get ourselves going forward.”

Lake believes the Sharks can go all the way to the premiership on their display today.

“They were very clever, that was more like they were early in the year,” Lake said. “That’s how they were playing, then they lost all that.”

Lake and his coaching panel spent several minutes congratulating Sharks coach Craig Crowley and his assistants after the game, despite being on the receiving end of some trash talking by a number of Southport players.

“Jack’s a good bloke, all the best to him,” Lake said of the goodwill gesture.

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