Clubs scrap for underdog tag
By HUGH KEARNEY
NEITHER Tweed Heads Seagulls nor Burleigh Bears is at all confident about their chances in today's Queensland Cup match at Pizzey Park.
In the lead-up to the much-anticipated local derby, both clubs have been claiming underdog status in an effort to keep their players' minds on the job at hand.
Bears' coach Jim Lenihan said yesterday he had no doubt which team was going in as underdog.
"Look at the ladder. We're seventh or eighth, Seagulls are fourth and running well," Lenihan said.
"They are the form team, while we have been doing it a bit tough, so there's no doubt who is the underdog."
Seagulls' coach Steve Murphy quickly scotched that suggestion saying form was a better guide.
"If you draw a line through the form, they drew 22-all with South Logan Magpies who then beat us 36-6," Murphy pointed out.
"Now look at the player list. They have a number of players with NRL and Sydney experience, plus Queensland Cup grand final experience.
"We have a couple of players with experience in one Queensland Cup semi-final, so their claim of being underdog means nothing."
Murphy said Seagulls had been lucky to win against Easts Tigers last Sunday and he had warned his players about taking their foot off the pedal in the second half against Burleigh.
"We can't let that happen again, but I haven't dwelt on it," he said. "What matters today is the mindset we take out there.
"It is always a good game against Burleigh, intense and with a degree of emotion, naturally," he said.
"We want to take the emotion out and play footy."
Whether the supporters want the emotion out of the game is another matter. But two players who have a lot riding on the game, and are expecting a warmer reception than most are former Bears duo, now Seagulls, Ryan Milligan and Dean Allen.
Adding to the uncertainty of the match, Murphy hinted that a number of players including forward Roy Friend were in doubt due to injury.
Lenihan said he had moved dynamic hooker Ryan Gundry to halfback for the match to see if he could make a combination with Adam Hayden at five-eighth. Matt Doeg has been promoted from reserves to hooker.
"We're ready and looking forward to the game," Lenihan said.
"It's always a good game. There's always a bit extra in it."
The match kicks off at 2pm.