By Beth Newman
There are plenty of unanswered questions ahead of tomorrow’s preliminary final, but Labrador coach, Steve Daniel, Is sure of one thing.
“(Nick) Stockdale won’t kick seven.”
“If we’re looking to him to win the game off his own boot, then we’re in trouble.
“We need our forwards to play their part…we need them all and to not rely on one individual.”
It’s all come together for Labrador at the perfect time, who will play a full-strength side for the first time this season, a welcome development for Daniel.
“It’s great timing,” he said
“I wish we could say we planned it that way.”
Key forward, Hugh Wadsworth, has overcome a shoulder complaint to be named in the Tigers side, after training well through the week.
Defender Sam Walker looms as an important player for the Tigers, after playing crucial shutdown roles in the first fortnight of finals.
Daniel will ask a lot of his player in their knockout clash tomorrow, but acknowledged these matches can sometimes be decided by the footy gods.
“A lot of people ask for 110 per cent, but you can’t give 110, all you can give is 100,”he said.
“I suppose the biggest thing we’ve tried to work on is making the most of our opportunities.
“You need a bit of luck going your way (as well).”
Palm Beach coach, Daryn Cresswell, isn’t concerned by the beefed-up Labrador side named today, full of confidence in his charges.
“Twenty-one minutes into the third term (last week) we were 15 points ahead of a team that hasn’t been beaten,” he said.
“I think we’re playing some pretty good footy.”
The Lions are no strangers to making it through the hard way, having featured in preliminary finals the past two seasons, before going on to the grand final, and Cresswell said that experience would be handy tomorrow.
Davan Dyer and Brock Askey have both been named in the side to take on the Tigers, after shrugging off injuries through the week, while Zac Denham comes into the team after some impressive reserves performance.
Last week’s late withdrawals, Sam Kitchin and Shaun Wilson have both been named to return to the team.
With Bryce Perry-Bolt’s season officially over after a knee injury and Clint Kelly spending most of his time up forward last weekend, Dyer will need to fire in the ruck.
Cresswell had said Askey’s season looked done after a possible hamstring injury last weekend, and was glad to see him overcome that for the sudden death clash.
“I’m really glad he’s got this opportunity,” he said.
“When it’s a player of his stature and his standing around the club, you leave (these decisions) a bit to them.
“He’s put his hand up, so hopefully he can have another good game.”
Lapses in concentration have been an Achilles heel for the Lions this year, and avoiding those has been a big focus at Salk Oval this week.
“It’s a worrying trend and it’s hard to put your finger on (why it happens),”he said.
“It’s more of a mental thing and we’ve got plans in place that if things start going pear-shaped we can put a stop to it.”
Of the three clashes the Gold Coast sides have had this year, none has been decided by more than 22 points, and tomorrow looms as another nail biter.
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