SCU Marlins shrug off week of drama to be ready for Kempsey
THE drama of recent days will have no adverse bearing on the performance of Southern Cross University in today's meeting with Kempsey.
That's the claim of head coach Dave Nicol as the Marlins emerge from the shadows of a dispute surrounding the eligibility of the club's Fijian imports that saw a $2000 fine levied and left the competition points from wins over Port Pirates and Coffs Breakers in limbo.
"All of the Fijian guest players have been cleared to play today and will be on the field," Nicol said.
"It's likely to be their last appearance as we don't play on the long weekend and they'll be returning home."
Nicol agrees that while the flare the islanders deliver has built confidence in the team, it's only one dimension of a range of factors that have turned fortunes around.
"Those boys have been very important during the short stay but, as a team, it's the attitude and will to win that has returned and we won't change a winning formula," he said.
"First of all we've cleared out the rubbish play and nobody is thinking about being anything more than a hardworking bush rugby player.
"We now have a good mindset and it's a rugby mindset.
"How we've turned things around is simple and basic.
"Forwards dig in and bend their backs and the attacking players in the backline finish off.
"It's not rocket science, just simple rugby strategy."
Due to the SCU graduation making Marlin Park unavailable and the condition of the Crescent Head field, the match has been switched to Verge Street Stadium in West Kempsey with the July 11 game to be played in Coffs Harbour.
Marlins prop Daniel 'Mr T' Wilson needs to pass a fitness test before taking his place and Nicol has made one change to the backline.
Centre Matt Fullwood is out of the area and this allows James Perrett to come back into the team for a smooth transition.
Coffs Harbour has the bye while Pirates and Vikings meet at Stuart Park.