Gladstone Goats looking good ahead of finals
RUGBY UNION: The Gladstone Goats are refusing to take an out-of-sorts Frenchville lightly ahead of the sudden-death Capricornia Rugby semi-final this weekend.
Frenchville has limped into the finals, having only recorded one win from the side's past five matches.
However, Gladstone Goats coach Sam Carey doesn't dare to underestimate last year's premiers.
"I know Frenchville have been having a bit of a rough trot lately, but come finals if they put the team on the paddock that they were playing with at the start of the year they'll be a very dangerous team,” Carey said.
"It's hard to know who will show up and we certainly won't be reading into any of their results of late.
"We'll be basing what we expect on what they've demonstrated they can play this year which is a very high calibre, fast-paced football.”
Gladstone and Frenchville have met twice this season with the Pioneers winning comfortably in Round 1, while the Goats reversed the result at home in Round 11.
The Goats had to forfeit to Frenchville in Round 6 due to a lack of players.
"(Round 11) was a good win and that was when things started to come together for us,” Carey said.
"We know in that game (Frenchville) had pretty much the same team backing up from reserve grade so it's hard to read a lot into that.
"At the same time we certainly put the points on the board and we'd like to think we've matured a bit more in the way we play.”
The match will be played at a neutral venue with Moura, home of the Dawson Valley Drovers, chosen.
Despite a bus trip of more than two hours looming, Carey will have a full deck of players to choose from, sparing him from strapping on the boots himself.
Apart from the usual suspects in David West and Paul Tema, Carey is looking towards some of his unsung players to make a difference at 3.45pm on Saturday.
"George Kupu is one of our crucial players with his work ethic and he's definitely a big-match player,” he said.
"One of the others who plays a physical brand of football is Bill Auld, he really steps up in these games and doesn't shy away in defence.
"Dylan Johnson has been coming through from the juniors in the front row and he's really making his mark on the game.
"One person who hasn't got a lot of acknowledgement throughout the year is flanker Adam Edminstone. He's not a big guy but he plays well above his side and stature.”