Wednesday 1 September 2010

Southport will have to overcome a chronic inability to win the contested ball around the packs if they are to beat Mt Gravatt at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday and remain alive in the QAFL finals series.

Despite boasting a big-name midfield, the Sharks have been badly beaten at the clearances by five different sides in the last seven weeks.

Tagger Adam Devine, who has done some excellence stopping jobs through that period, was the only Shark who looked likely to win a regular clearance in the qualifying final loss to Morningside last weekend until Matty Payne got involved in the second half.

“The clearances (losses) were because of our poor ball security,” coach Craig Crowley said afterwards.

The Sharks were certainly hurt by the loss of skipper Danny Wise, who is so valuable to the team that Crowley said after the game that he would play against the Vultures irrespective of the state of his damaged hamstring.

“It hurt us (losing Wise) because it put a lot more emphasis on ‘Pfeiff’ (Darren Pfeiffer),” Crowley said. “We also allowed them to run off half-back too easily. You can’t play games of footy and continually turn over the ball.”

Wise’s possible absence, or limited flexibility, is at least matched by an ankle injury to Mt Gravatt co-captain Josh Vearing, who is highly unlikely to play on Saturday.

So good is Mt Gravatt’s depth that they will cover the loss competently.

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