Coach begs team to stem mistakes
ISIS coach David Jones has warned the absence of key Hervey Bay playmaker Clinton Horne will mean nothing if his team does not address a critical error rate which plagued its last encounter.
The wings of the high-flying Seagulls have been cruelly clipped as the team mounts its finals' campaign with captain and player of the year hopeful Clinton Horne sidelined with a broken wrist.
Jones was not saddened to hear of the representative star's untimely demise, but said any advantage to his team was at risk of being squandered after a completion rate of less than 50% led to a 40-34 loss to Easts last weekend.
“If the guys don't improve their error rate we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot and undo a lot of hard work that's been put in this season,” he said.
“The guys need to learn to pay attention to detail and guard the football otherwise they're going to be very disappointed in the result.”
Adding starch to the Hervey Bay outfit will be the return of Tyrone Hopgood from an ankle injury.
Hopgood has spent three weeks off the football field, but Jones expected the star second rower to return with trademark pace and hustle.
“The guy can play and, while he may not be at peak fitness, we'll be trying to keep a very close eye on him,” he said.
Jones has a healthy pool of talent to choose from ahead of the final with Biggenden upstart Peter Sippel the only player likely to be struck from the team list.
Sippel will visit a chiropractor this morning in the hope of treating a pinched nerve in his shoulder which threatens to relegate him to the sidelines.
“It would be a considerable loss to us, there's no doubt about it,” Jones said.
“There is a bit of depth there to take up the slack but he's one of the best in the competition and he's a consistent performer for us.”
Jones said the role of the forwards would be crucial in ensuring Isis can gain ground against Hervey Bay's notoriously tough defensive unit.
He has prepped second rower Matt Curtis and prop Matt Blair for a physical encounter.
“I'm happy with the commitment and the passion the guys have been playing with, but they need to cut down on mistakes and they need to step up their physicality,” he said.