Defending premiers Redcliffe might only be just off the bottom of the ladder with one win from the first six rounds but we know we are facing a desperate side in front of what should be a pretty good crowd at Dolphins Stadium tomorrow – so we really have to be on our game.
It was a good effort to come back with a win at Mackay last weekend after our poorest performance of the season against Wynnum the week before. We got away to a handy lead early and had to do a lot of defending in the second half but let them in for only two tries, making it a pretty good win.
It was a real physical game and, after we were dominant in the first half hour, the Cutters had the wind behind them in the second half and used it well while we gave them too much ball through our errors. We seemed to be camped on our line for long periods but held them out with good enthusiasm to hold on to win 14-12.
Our attack, though, hasn’t really hit its straps this season in any match. But after having a lot of changes in our ‘spine’ over the first five weeks we’ll have the advantage of halves Christian Hazard and Ryley Jacks having a game together now with Brayden McGrady behind them at fullback.
Talor Walters has probably been our most consistent player this season and he was unlucky to have to shift out to the right wing – a position he handled really well. But we had to shuffle the backs to fit Talor, Lindon, Christian and Ryley all into the team.
Lindon received the players’ player award, which would have given him confidence after moving from five-eighth. He was peppered with quite a few bombs but handle the pressure well and his attack from there will develop.
Ryley managed the game well for us, especially with his kicking game into the wind in the last 10-15 minutes when we needed to keep our nerve.
He and Christian combined well and right centre Treymain Spry will benefit from that as the halves get more familiar with each other.
Treymain has that bit of class that Brayden McGrady gave us last season. They can both beat a man one-on-one and get on the outside, and two of our tries came from Treymain’s ability to do that.
But he knows he has to become more consistent over 80 minutes and do the little things right too, and he’s working on that.
Kirk Murphy is unlikely to play because of injury which means the other forwards will really have to be energetic and consistent in defence, because Kirk is a real leader in that area for us.
The Dolphins will come at us hard early, that’s for sure, and we have to match them and play with patience. Hopefully, our combinations and confidence with the ball will improve because that’s where we know we can get better – and we’ll go to the next level as a team when we do.
We’ve got Ipswich and Norths at home after this match and it’s important we go into those matches with a good performance behind us at Redcliffe to keep our momentum going.
Even though they’ve got a few injuries, the Dolphins have some class players and they’ve been beaten by eight points of less in their five losses, so they’re not far away. We’re conscious of that and am expecting a really tough match.