Tigers ready for Big Challenge

NOOSA coach Wayne Fletcher has dismissed suggestions that strongmen Adam Bovalino and Peter Trompf will return to action in the elimination first semi-final against Surfers Paradise at Weyba Road on Saturday.

by Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin

Defender Bovalino (broken hand) and ruckman Trompf (adductor strain), two integral figures in Noosa’s back-to-back premierships of 2010 and 2011, have not played for a couple of weeks because of their injuries.

But Surfers coach Beau Zorko said he has been preparing his troops expecting Bovalino and Trompf to trot out against his side.

“There’s not much chance of that happening tis week,” responded Fletcher on the matter.

But he hinted that one, or both, could be back in action should the Tigers advance past the weekend.

Beaten narrowly by Palm Beach-Currumbin in last weekend’s qualifying final on the Gold Coast, Noosa have just the one change, losing Jake Hawksworth (shoulder) and replacing him with utility Jack Tickner, who Fletcher said was unlucky to have been left out of the side that went down to the Lions.

Surfers have two changes, both forced by injury. Out are former captain Jacob Clark (broken wrist) and onballer Aaron Rolfe (shoulder and ankle) and brought in midfielders Sam Folan and Troy Clark.

The inclusion of Clark gives Surfers two 16-year-olds  the other is hugely promising Cassidy Haberfield  to tackle the rough and tumble Tigers.

Zorko, though, is confident the teenagers will be up to the task. His main concern is the venue, Weyba Road, where the Tigers grow an extra leg and where a parochial home crowd invariably lifts them.

“I think I made the comment before round four that playing at Noosa is like going to a fortress, so we know what to expect,” he said.

Certainly it will be several notches tougher for the Demons than last weekend when they smashed Wilston-Grange in the elimination final.

“I think Noosa is one of the best defensive units in the competition, so we have to make sure we make the most of every opportunity that comes our way,” Zorko said.

“We’re certainly prepared for a scrap and a fight and that’s what Noosa does best. They never give up.”

Surfers have a proud record this year, the only side to have beaten the premiers twice. The first was at Weyba Road, the second at Sir Bruce Small Park. Both results were narrow.

Fletcher has a healthy respect for the Demons, who have not made it this far purely by chance.

“Obviously they’re up and about and full of confidence after a win like last weekend,” Fletcher said.

“They’re a good team, otherwise they wouldn’t be where they are, so we have to be on our game.”

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