Keeping the focus switched on

OPPOSING coaches Craig Wallace and Aaron Dyett head into tomorrow's big battle at Rex Hardaker Oval with a contrasting set of problems.

Coffs Harbour boss Dyett admits his squad must overcome their habit of switching off at the 30-minute mark and letting their opponents take the high ground.

"It's a mental thing and we've done it every time with the exception of the Nambucca game," he said.

"Whatever rings the bell of each individual, I want them focused and concentrating on the fundamental requirement of staying in a winning position.

"We cannot afford to go to sleep and have to stick it out to the end."

One thing Sawtell won't do is nod off into dream land.

Arguably the only genuine '80-minute' team in the competition, the Panthers don't always play stylish football but have a knack of winning the close ones by hanging in when others have had enough.

"Our problem is the battle with injury and despite the break, a lot of players are in doubt," coach Craig Wallace said.

"But these blokes have a habit of lifting when their backs are against the wall and I detected a lift in enthusiasm on Thursday night.

"It was the best session we've had for probably six weeks and if we start controlling the ball, we've got to have an edge."

Bellingen will chase their maiden victory when they tangle with Port Macquarie, while the entire season for both clubs goes on the line when Nambucca Heads and Woolgoolga stalk each other at Coronation Park.

A loss will be the final nail in Nambucca's coffin but the Seahorses remain wary of their bogey team.

"We have the capacity to win this but it will still be tricky down there," Woopi president Chris Hughes warned.

Meanwhile, Macleay Valley coach Mark Morrison will control play at Verge Street in the same manner as he did for Mustangs' unusual victory over Coffs Harbour on June 3.

Morrison will be in transit from a consultation visit to the Parramatta Eels and will communicate via mobile phone with sidelined captain Adam McMurray from the time the game begins.

Macleay have gone 'retro' for the clash with Macksville and will celebrate their former Kempsey Dragons' identity by wearing St George-style jumpers, adorned with current sponsors and logos.

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