Hawks not at peak for Cairns opener

New Manunda skipper Glen Martin says all the pressure is on Saints despite his side carrying the mantle of defending AFL Cairns premiers into tonight’s season opener. Martin, who was instrumental in the Hawks capturing the flag from a red-hot Saints last season, said his side would not be at its strongest for the round one twilight clash at Cazalys.

Instead of looking for the win, the captain hopes what will be a young side can simply learn to match the intensity and commitment of the new-look Saints squad.

"They’ll be very strong and we won’t be at full strength yet, so it will be about setting and achieving different goals for us," Martin said.

Martin, who will share the captaincy duties with Luke Powell, will play on the ball alongside player-coach Clinton Gribble.

"He’s been good, very different methods from (former coach) Paul Griffiths. He is a follow-my-lead type of coach and has set a good example," Martin said. A brand new Saints half-forward line of Nick Gill, Nick Braybon and Sam Harkin will debut in what is a strong first-up side.

At Fretwell Park another new-look squad will assemble for the South Cairns Cutters against Cairns City Lions.

Lions coach Jason Roe said things had improved since he started at the club, but not enough to expect instant results.

"We’ve got some really talented youngsters here, the only place we’re going to struggle is depth," he said. Skipper Paul Taverner agreed and is under no allusions they will be able to sweep last year’s winless season aside. "Our depth isn’t quite where it should be really, it could be another long season," he said. But he agreed it was better than it has been.

"Roey’s been great with us, he’s brought something different to training and games and I think his presence is a definite positive for us."

Read more at http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2012/03/31/212925_local-sport-news.html

Courtesy of The Cairns Post.


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