Win is crucial for Seagulls
THERE are only three rounds to go in the Queensland Cup, and the pressure is well and truly on for the Tweed Heads Seagulls to retain their position in the top five.
Despite last week's disappointing loss to Wynnum Manly, Tweed has managed to retain their fifth position ahead of Burleigh thanks to the Ipswich Jets defeat of the Bears.
However coach Steve Lacey realises that his side cannot depend on the results of other matches to determine their fate, and must step up tomorrow against the Redcliffe Dolphins at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.
The two sides, both grand finalists in 2007, have a healthy rivalry going, and the match should produce a game full of physical intensity.
Every win from here until the end of the season is crucial for Tweed, who have had more disruptions to their starting line-up with centre Jordan Atkins called up to the Titans for their clash against the Warriors.
“We have had to cope with Jordan being called into the Gold Coast side, but that's the role of a feeder club,” Lacey said.
“In his place we will bring Kingi Akauola into the centres to partner James Wood. He has played in that position in his junior footy days and has a good turn of speed and some size about him.
“Kingi hits the line hard and tackles hard, and we certainly won't lose anything with him being there.
“I think, with a bit of room to move, he will prove a handful and hopefully create a few busts that our speed men can make the most of.”
Among those speed men will be Shannon Walker, who is slowly gaining confidence after a lengthy break due to injury.
“After last week's game, I think Shannon was disappointed in himself and what he did with the footy,” Lacey said.
“It's just a matter of him having confidence in himself and not worrying about his injury. If he has the self-belief in his ability he'll be fine.
“I expect Redcliffe will kick to him after watching last week's game, and that may be to their downfall if Shannon is on his game.”
Also coming back into the side is workhorse Ryan Simpkins, who only played three minutes of the game last week before suffering a concussion early in the match.
Lacey said his side was wary of Redcliffe who, despite their second-last position on the ladder, are capable of an upset.
Seagulls play Redcliffe in three grades, with the FOG Colts starting at 11.45am, the FOGS Cup at 1.15pm and the Queensland Cup at 3pm.
In other Q-Cup matches this weekend, Easts host Burleigh, Ipswich are home to Wynnum, the Sunshine Coast plays the Central Comets in Rockhampton, Mackay hosts the Northern Pride and Souths Logan are home to Norths.