Southport have maintained a professional approach in the lead-up to their key part of the QAFL qualifying rounds, starting tomorrow.

Friday 7 July 2010

Southport are taking nothing for granted as they prepare for the defining week of their qualifying rounds campaign.

The Sharks have jumped two games clear in top place after 12 rounds and can sew up the week off at finals time with success over nearest challengers Labrador and Morningside in the next two games.

The Sharks host Labrador at Fankhauser Reserve tomorrow and travel to Esplen Oval the following Sunday for a big showdown with Morningside.

“We have actually planned and prepared for this patch for the last month,” said dual premiership coach Craig Crowley. “We put an emphasis on playing the ball hard, maintaining that for four quarters, and at the same time showing respect to our opponents.

“You can’t just turn your game on and off when you want.”

Crowley has been determined for his charges to keep their standards high because he knows their main rivals will get better before September.

“We have been extremely lucky with our injuries, especially when you look at what has happened to Morningside, Mt Gravatt and Labrador,” Crowley said.

“We’re fully aware that the times we have played them they have been lacking numbers where we have had almost a full complement.

“They will come hard.”

Southport established big early leads against injury-hit Brisbane, the Western Magpies and Broadbeach coming off the representative round bye, although Crowley complimented the Cats for their fierceness at the contest last week.

Labrador is on the rebound after being shocked by Mt Gravatt last Sunday, and the Tigers have the extra incentive of wanting to notch a historic first ever win at Southport’s home.

Southport hold a 28-2 head-to-head record over the Tigers.

“The (Gold Coast) derbies are always hard games and while we try to treat them the same as any other game, we know the importance of them and the bragging rights that go with them,” Crowley said.

Southport has won 11 of 12 games this season to continue more than two decades of sustained excellence and the fact that everyone desperately wants to claim the heavyweight’s scalp is what keeps them strong, according to Crowley.

“Every time we run out, the opposition wants to knock off the benchmark, so you have to be mentally tough,” he said.

Crowley admitted the 2010 Sharks are the best credentialed he has enjoyed coaching in five seasons at Fankhauser Reserve, and he does have established stars Danny Wise, Cleve Hughes, Darren Pfeiffer, David James and Kurt Niklaus at the top of their games.

“Wisey is a great leader and he has gone to the next level as a captain,” Crowley said.  

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