Simple message: win
AS Coffs Harbour prepare for tomorrow’s enormous clash with Port Macquarie at Shark Park, the feeling is Comets’ coach Warren Gilkinson must be readying for a career in politics with his newfound skill for changing subjects.
Attempts made to force an insight into how his outfit is handling its new status of “team most likely” to upset Group 2’s unbeaten front-runners are not just skilfully avoided, but Gilkinson has now developed a happy knack of slipping into rhetoric at the drop of a hat.
It may frustrate the journalist asking the questions, but it sure erases the pressure and over-expectation of a side finally hitting the big time after almost a decade of disappointments.
“I’m a simple man with a simple message and the reason why we’ve got to this position is also simple,” he said.
“They were just another team at the start of the year . . . now they are a team of mates and that’s the secret.
“It’s not rocket science and all I do is introduce a few new things here and there and they soak it up bit by bit.
“I give them the input and they take it to the next level.”
However, the four-week suspension handed to key forward Blaize Parter is one subject he doesn’t mind commenting on and while the answers are all off the record, suffice to say the boss Comet is unimpressed with the penalty.
“Blaize is a forward who gets in their faces and we’ll miss that,” Gilkinson growled.
Port coach Tony Pascoe never gets carried away with football hype and was just as dismissive as his next rival of any suggestion tomorrow’s match carried more significance than any other.
“Sorry if this is a cliché, but Coffs are just another team we have to beat and winning is another step to making sure we’re in the semis,” he said.
“Seriously, we have never spoken about any more than that and while I’ll concede all reports say this one will be tough, it’s no tougher than the week after when we have to go up the highway to Sawtell.
“My blokes are used to playing in big matches and it’s become second nature to have their minds focused.”
In other matches, Bellingen’s season could be over if they crash at home to Woolgoolga with visiting coach Steve Gooley predicting a win will put his Seahorses on the springboard to greater things.