‘We’re getting hunted’: Cooper

AFL CAIRNS

Mark Murray

Journalist

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Port Douglas coach Brad Cooper says tomorrow's clash with a resurgent South Cairns is the ideal finals warm-up. IMAGE: Brett Pascoe Photography.

PORT Douglas coach Brad Cooper is expecting to be hunted in the final home-and-away clash with South Cairns.

Cooper’s undefeated team has barely raised a sweat over the last month in disposing of Cairns City, North Cairns and Cairns Saints by 215, 209 and 121 points respectively, with a bye squeezed in between.

Yet despite their dominance, an air of intrigue hangs over Fretwell Park tomorrow due largely to the Cutters re-emergence as a premiership threat.

“We’re well aware we’ve had it pretty much on our own terms the last month, so we want to gear up and probably step up a little bit tomorrow,” Cooper said.

“We’re also aware that, outside of us, the next form side would be South’s.

“They’re in their best patch of footy at the moment and on their home ground I rate them a four or five goal better side.

“We need to make sure we turn up tomorrow or it could go pear shaped.”

The Cutters have disposed of Centrals Trinity Beach (second) and Cairns Saints over the last month to give strength to an argument a boilover is on the cards.

Any they're no stranger to upsetting the Crocs, having halted their 16-match winning streak in the semi-final last year with a 32-point win at Cazalys Stadium.

Cooper welcomes the talk, declaring it the ideal preparation for another finals tilt.

“It’s just perfect and I said that to the boys this week,” he said.

“We’re getting hunted, we’ve got a rivalry with this club that is probably second to none.

“It’s down on their ground, they need to smack us by a lot (to finish second), so it’s absolutely game on.”

The Cutters need to win and make up a whopping 23.79 per cent on the second placed Bulldogs - who get four points for having the bye this weekend - in order earn another crack at Port next week in the semi-final.

The Crocs will be missing star midfielder Peter Bury this week through injury along with Jack Dixon. Both will be available for the first final.

Cooper said the Crocs wouldn’t be flirting with form against South Cairns.

“I was taught and learnt early that form is not to be messed with, it can be disastrous,” he said.

“I’ve seen coaches make mistakes surrounding that when I was playing.

“We’ve got competition for spots and we’ll have premiership players running around in the reserves this week that are desperate to get in.

“So the heat is on for spots and selection is hard.” 


AFL CAIRNS - ROUND 21
Saturday 26 August, 3pm
South Cairns v Port Douglas
Fretwell Park, Cairns

SELECTED TEAMS:


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