It’s certainly good to go into the bye this weekend with three straight wins behind us, then returning with three games at Piggabeen in a crucial part of our season.
It’s just natural that the belief and confidence in the team has gone to a new level, especially after piling on more than 50 points against the Cutters in Mackay, and we feel as though we’re definitely in this competition now.
Having said that, I thought our effort defensively was a lot better the week before against Easts but I suppose a team can be forgiven for losing a bit of intensity after clocking up as many points as we had early in the second half.
With our halves Kane Elgey and Lindon McGrady controlling the game really well, we had too much class and got them on the edges, even though we had new combinations on the left side.
I was really pleased with the performance of quite a few players who are now growing into very good Queensland Cup performers.
Kiah Cooper, who asked to go into the centres after Brendan Elliot was called up to the Titans side, is starting to develop well. He was good against Wynnum, improved against Easts – playing both games on the wing – and came up with his best performance of the season against the Cutters.
AJ Simpson is the same.
In the loss to the Blackhawks in Townsville I felt he did some good things but was floating out of the game, and we spoke about that. He has kicked on ever since.
He doesn’t let errors phase him, he’s started to show what he can do when he injects himself into the attack and his last two games, against Easts and Mackay, have been his best.
Lindon has really knuckled into his task since missing selection for a couple of games and it’s a credit to his attitude in going back to A-Grade and working on his game. It’s great to see him running the ball with confidence on top of relying on his natural instincts and passing and kicking game we know he can produce.
Kane was tremendous and came back to us with the right attitude. It was hard for him with little time to form combinations with the others but it didn’t faze him and it will be a bonus for us if he is with us for a few more games.
Our defensive stats as far as dominance in the ruck and play the ball speed was down on previous weeks, so we can’t lose sight of the work we must continue to do there despite showing more class and strike in our attack.
We trained on Tuesday, well mostly it as a boxing session, then gave the boys the week off to freshen up from what has been a tough period travel-wise with trips to Port Moresby, Townsville and Mackay in the past five weeks.
I encouraged the boys to get a good break over the long weekend and I’ll be heading off to North Straddie myself with the family.
When we get back we’ll have to switch on to tackle Ipswich, the first of three successive weekends that we’re at home – followed by clashes with Northern Pride and Sunshine Coast Falcons.
It’s a real opportunity for us to build on our lift in confidence from the past three wins and show some form at home and hopefully get into the top eight.
It will be a bit of a different ball game against Ipswich after the bye.
They play an unorthodox-style but you can lose yourself a bit concentrating too much on them and not us; preparing too much for the unexpected they might throw at us and forgetting the basics of doing well what we need to do well.
But that’s the challenge for next week.
Got to go and catch a ferry!