Rivals stay silent as crucial clash looms

It is the clash they've been talking about for the past month, but this week both Souths and Manunda have been strangely quiet ahead of their battle for fourth at Fretwell Park tomorrow afternoon.

Put simply, Manunda need to beat Souths by 38 points to steal their fourth spot and rob the Cutters of a final berth.

But there is a whole lot more feeling to it than just a simple number.

The fact three of the Hawks' senior players - Luke Powell, Paul Buller and Jason Campbell - moved to Souths did not sit well with the Hawks, who also had to cop the loss of several clubs to rival Cairns clubs.

Depite losing six of their past eight games played by fewer than 21 points they are still in the top four hunt ahead of this weekend's final round.

Getting there is simple - beat the enemy by 38 and silly Sunday is on hold.

But neither Souths nor Manunda will buy into the gravity of the contest, Manunda coach Clinton Gribble particularly circumspect ahead of the clash.

He contended his side would not be worried about the 38-point gap they had to bridge during a cliche-driven pre-game chat.

"If you worry about that you take your mind off how you're actually trying to play the game," he said.

"It would be a sweet win, but we can't worry about that. "We've just got to go in, play well and see what happens."

"We've had our chances this season - we've lost five games by two kicks or less - so we shouldn't be relying on the last round to qualify."

He will go up against Souths recruit Powell, who captained the Hawks last year alongside Gribble and is well aware of what his side needs to do to play finals.

Powell, too, did not want to play along.

The ruck forward just hopes they improve on last week's shellacking in Port Douglas.

Returning to Fretwell Park should be a bonus for the Cutters, who beat the Hawks by 10 there in round 14 this season. 

****** At Griffiths Park, Matt Walsh needs six goals to equal the record he set last year for most majors in a regular season.

The Saints full forward has been in stellar form at the back-end of this year, but they are expecting a tough game against the fired-up Crocs.

Saints were again dealt multiple injury blows last weekend.

But they say they are prepard to weather the storm set to come their way from Port, who can draw level on points with them in second but are unlikely to overtake them on percentage.


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