Magpies hooker Tyler Gardiner will be a welcome inclusion against Brothers.
Magpies hooker Tyler Gardiner will be a welcome inclusion against Brothers. Callum Dick

Coach's simple message to players ahead of finals clash

Rugby league: Celebrating 100 years of esteemed history, the Mackay Magpies will have more than two competition points to play for this weekend.

Amid the logger-jam of finals aspirants, this Sunday's clash could be make or break for the A-grade side.

The club will recognise a century of rugby league in the sugar city when they take on Brothers in a match set to have huge implications for their respective campaigns.

Magpies are just nestled inside the top four - only a win ahead of the resurgent Brothers and Sarina Crocodiles.

With a vocal crowd expected to descend upon Sologinkin Oval, Magpies coach Steve Jackson said there should be plenty of incentive to come out firing.

"At the moment destiny is in our hands and we don't have to worry about what other sides have to do,” he said.

"We should be motivated enough ... if we can't be up for it this weekend we don't deserve to be in finals.”

Earlier in the season, Magpies won five games in a row and Jackson said it came from playing simple football.

Now coming off two straight losses, the message from the mentor is straight-forward: keep it simple stupid.

"I'm a firm believer this game is a simple game. Don't miss tackles, don't drop the middle and at the end of the game you're usually there when the whip's cracking,” Jackson said.

"When you make errors it puts more and more pressure on you, and this game is about mounting pressure.

"I think we just started to get a little too fancy and expansive in our attack rather than just grind out the win and get into the arm wrestle.

"In this game you have to go forward before you go wide, and we tend to go wide earlier and not do the hard yards in the middle.”

Courtesy of the Intrust Super Cup's split round, Magpies and Brothers will welcome players from the Mackay Cutters squad back into the fold.

Brothers are set to include centre Jayden Batchelor, while the Magpies line up will feature prop Dave Munro and hooker Tyler Gardiner. The black and white outfit's inclusions will offset the loss of halfback Yosh Kepa to a rib injury.

Jackson said the experience these inclusions provided would balance their young, energetic squad and prove invaluable in the finals surge.

"We've got a really young brigade, and to have that experience around the young fellas ... plays a big part in finals football,” he said.

"Sometimes you can get too excited about the whole ordeal and that experienced player can pull them back a bit. It's invaluable the experience they bring to the football side.”

The match will kick off at 2pm.



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