Semis start now

WOOLGOOLGA coach Steve Gooley admits that sitting two games off fifth position means the time to play semi-final football has arrived early at his club.

The Seahorses virtually face elimination from the finals race should they lose tomorrow against a reigning premier desperate to end a two-game losing streak.

While making the five is deemed a remote possibility by those outside the club, Gooley revealed the playing group is taking inspiration from a team that made a similar run recently.

“We’ve had a number of discussions about it and we know we’ve got a semi-final every week now so we’ll be trying to be like Parramatta last year and come home strong in the second round,” Gooley said.

Playing Sawtell at Sawtell has always been a difficult assignment, but the Woolgoolga coach believes his team has taken a lot of confidence from the last time the teams met, despite losing 40-24.

“We only lost it in the last five or six minutes last time and we led for most of that game,”

What will make the task easier for Gooley and his men is the return of chief playmaker Rob Toshack and hard working forward Harinder Husna.

“Having Rob back is important for us because he gives the team direction, strong running and he gives a lot of confidence to the players that are around him,” the coach said.

Don’t think that Sawtell will be taking tomorrow’s clash easily simply because they’re sitting in second position.

Panthers leader Rohan Loudon said a third loss in a row would put plenty of pressure on his team.

“It’s do-or-die for us this week, too,” Loudon said.

“If we don’t win this we’re back in the pack and every week is a semi-final for us as well.”

Loudon is hoping the Panthers are able to hit the ground running and put some early pressure on the opposition.

It is a vital ingredient that has been missing from Sawtell performances of late.

“We just have to get into the game a lot quicker than what we are at the moment,” he said. “We’re taking 40 minutes to get into it but by then it’s too late.

“Last weekend we used that much juice up from tackling and dropped balls in our own 30 that we weren’t in the contest in the second half because we weren’t mentally prepared and thinking ‘she’ll be right’.”

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