A GRAND final spot is at stake on Sunday when the Port Macquarie Sharks host the Port City Breakers in the Group 3 major semi final at Regional Stadium.
It’s set to be a monumental clash, with the Sharks – the team to beat all season – taking on a Breakers side which has come good at the right end after a shaky start to the competition.
The Breakers won through to the match with a 46-12 thrashing of Wauchope Blues at Lank Bain Complex last weekend.
The side has the confidence to knock off the Sharks and book the first grand final spot, but coach Ben Sprague said his troops weren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“We haven’t beaten them this year yet,” he said.
The Breakers have got better and better this season as they’ve built towards something special. Handling errors still plague the team at times, but they don’t worry Sprague too much.
“That’s part and parcel of playing our type of footy,” he said.
“Obviously, you want everything to go perfectly, but it doesn’t always work out like that.”
Breakers forward Mitch Fowler will be a key to his team doing well on Sunday. Fowler is honest and fearless on the field, and Sprague had nothing but praise for the big man.
“Chook’s one of the best players I’ve coached,” he said.
“He’s earned that reputation. Week in, week out, he gives it his all.”
Second rowers Daniel Dumas and Dylan Hemsley were expected to emerge from injury clouds to play. Dumas has a hamstring problem and Hemsley hurt a hand.
Front rower Sam Flanagan was on Wednesday in doubt after he was sighted by match officials over an incident in the game against Wauchope.
Flanagan was due to front the panel last night at Wingham.
Sprague said he had plenty of depth in the forwards to plug any holes.
Shipway’s Sharks had last weekend off, but didn’t have a rest. They had a heavy training session at Oxley Oval, before Shipway and a couple of other senior players ventured to Wauchope the next day to watch the Blues/Breakers match.
He was impressed with how the Breakers got the ball to the edges.
“That’s something we’ll be onto,” Shipway said.