Panthers undermanned but excited for grand final replay
THE Rockhampton Panthers will be missing a host of key players when they face reigning champions Yeppoon in the much-anticipated grand final replay today.
Both teams are unbeaten after the first four rounds of the 2020 Frenchville Sports Club Seniors Premiership.
Yeppoon are coming off a 165-point thrashing of Glenmore, the Panthers a 21-point win over Gladstone.
Panthers coach Sam Gudgeon said he was excited for the match-up against the five-time reigning champions, even though his side would be undermanned.
Among those unavailable are co-captain Travis Young, Levi Davenport, Matthew Ryan and Pat Harriman.
There will be only five players from last year’s grand final team in action today.
“We’ve got 10 guys out this weekend and we’re missing most of our core playing group,” he said.
“It’s not ideal but it gives some of our younger fellas a chance to step up and prove they deserve their place in the side.”
Gudgeon said he would be looking to Hayden Thomas and Clinton Evans to take charge and lead the Panthers around the park.
He was also expecting another big game from young gun Xavier Thomas, who would be keen to make his mark against the classy Yeppoon outfit.
“We will try to stick to our game plan and play the way we want to play,” Gudgeon said.
“Yeppoon are a fit side and they like to run. When they get the space, they deliver the ball well and use it well moving forward.
“If we keep the pressure up and shut down that run I think it will be a fairly close battle.”
The game starts at 4pm at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground.