Cutters coach won't change for Jets
"REALLY good forwards, nippy halves and some freaky outside backs.”
Mackay Cutters coach Stephen Sheppard is under no illusions as to the challenge the Ipswich Jets will pose in tonight's Intrust Super Cup clash at BB Print Stadium.
In a must-win match for the Jets, Sheppard dismissed any suggestion his team would be out to spoil the Ipswich side's finals chances.
Instead he is focused on putting in "an 80 minute performance” against a team renowned for their ability to cut sides to pieces.
"This whole season has been a big learning curve for myself and the group,” Sheppard said, with his side sitting last on the competition table.
"We've been in a lot of games and haven't finished them off as well as we would like.
"(The Jets) are a quality side. But we need to make sure we worry about ourselves this week, prep well, and hopefully put in an 80-minute performance.”
Jets fullback Michael Purcell crossed for three tries against Easts last weekend, and looms as a key man the Cutters must nullify.
"We'll need to take time off him. Make sure our chase is good, and make sure he doesn't get too much time to skip around like he does,” Sheppard said.
The second-year Cutters coach has not approached this game any differently, despite the Jets' unique game style.
"I think a lot of teams get bogged down in the way they play,” Sheppard said.
"It's more about us this week, making sure we worry about our things. We don't change (how we prepare).”
With focus on the Jets' bevy of threats, Sheppard offered up one Cutter who Ben and Shane Walker should be wary of tonight.
"We've had Cooper Bambling come back into the side from the Canberra Raiders, and he's starting to find a bit of form,” Shepphard said.
"Hopefully he can add a bit of spark to our attack.”
A rare Friday night fixture has given the Cutters added motivation to put on a good showing in front of what promises to be a large crowd.
"We've got the Under-15 national finals on at the moment, and the state junior carnival starting today,” Sheppard said.
"We think there's going to be a huge crowd. The boys grow an extra leg for Friday night games.
"We're hoping to put in a big performance in front of our home fans.”
Intrust Super Cup Round 17: Tonight (7.30pm) - Mackay Cutters v Ipswich Jets at BB Print Stadium Mackay.