Magpies happy to have a target on their back
MAGPIES are embracing the target that has been painted on their back after stealing the lead of this year's RLM A-Grade competition.
After scraping in a 24-20 win over formerly undefeated Whitsunday Brahmans last week, the Magpies hoisted themselves into the competition's top seat.
Team coach Steve Jackson said first place could bring an intimidating pressure, but he shared an opposite opinion.
"I want the target. What happens then is other sides play differently,” he said.
"They tend to throw a lot at you early on in the game and all you have to do is absorb that. I don't mind other sides looking at us as a threat.”
Magpies will take on Brothers at their home stomping ground, Leprechaun Park, this weekend and Jackson expects the Fish to bring their A-Game.
"It's a dangerous game for us at the Fish Bowl,” he said.
"They're a good young side who have been together for a while, so they know each others game.
"They play a fast, through-the-middle kind of football.
"If you haven't got good speed and line of defence they can roll down the middle of the field.”
Brothers dismantled the Pies 54-14 in a trial match at the beginning of the year.
Jackson said the side they met then was not a full strength Magpies.
"We treated the trial games like trials,” he said.
"Come the start of the season then we played our top liners, and each week we have improved.”
Jackson touched wood when he said his team had been uninjured so far this year. He said keeping his players in fighting form had been key to their success.
"If you can keep the same side on the football field week in, week out it really helps and that's just what we've done.”
THIS weekend's Moranbah Miners, Wests Tigers clash could have been the RLM's most anticipated grudge match if not for a significant change in roster.
Last year's grand finalists will meet for the first time since the Tigers topped Moranbah for the premiership.
With Moranbah retaining just three players from last year's runners-up squad and Wests going through reconstructions of their own, it is hard to draw comparisons between the two seasons.
Moranbah have been unable to get the win over Wests for two years and head coach David Stevens said a win this weekend could reignite their competitive season.
"It would get that monkey off our back,” he said, "If we play for the whole 80-minutes then I think the result can go our way,” he said.
Moranbah found their first win over Carltons Red Devils last weekend which Stevens hopes will give his men momentum before they meet Wests.
The Miners boss said his young roster had the potential to win.
"We have a good effort in defence, just need some improvement in offence,” he said.
Team veterans Garet Moore and Luke Dwyer were highlighted as pioneers for Moranbah's front row.
Rugby League Mackay A-Grade Round 7
Saturday (7pm) - Whitsunday v Carltons at Les Stagg Oval
Saturday (7.30pm) - Moranbah v Wests at Darryl Bourke Oval
Sunday (3pm) - Brothers v Magpies at Leprechaun Park.
Sunday (3pm) - Sarina v Souths at Ray Edwards Oval.