SUNSHINE Coast coach Brandon Costin says he is glad tomorrow’s final-round clash against Mackay is not a “must win” for the Sea Eagles.
Joel McRae and Simon Allen have a great chance to step up, says Sea Eagles coach Brandon Costin.
The Sea Eagles are in the midst of a purple patch of form, having won their past seven games straight.
But the club has been decimated by injury, illness and the call-up of Queensland Cup regulars to Manly’s NRL squad.
At least eight Sea Eagles regulars are unavailable for the clash against the Cutters, opening the way for young Colts rake Kane Richards to make his senior debut.
Richards will come off the bench.
Regular No.9 Cameron Joyce is yet to overcome a broken leg and dynamic dummy-half Jamie Buhrer has been named for Manly.
Sea Eagles five-eighth Terence Seu Seu is Manly’s 18th man and regular forwards Vic Mauro, Darcy Lussick and Rob Godrey are on the sidelines.
Centre Filinga Filiga is facing a lengthy spell after dislocating his elbow last weekend and winger Michael Chapman will not return this year due to a knee injury.
“They’re a real danger side because they can score a lot of points,” Costin said yesterday.
“They put 40 on us when we played up there.
“We’re also expecting some Cowboys to come into the side that haven’t been named, like Arana Taumata and Isaak Ah Mau.
“I think they’ll be even stronger than they look on paper.
“I’m glad this isn’t a game that we must win to make the semis, because we really are light-on this week compared to other weeks.
“It is fortunate we have a semi sewn up and it’s probably a great week for Mackay to be playing us.”
Despite his worries, Costin said the Cutters clash would be a great opportunity for fringe players such as Joel McCrae and Simon Allen, who will play five-eighth, to step up.
“Terence has three man-of-the-matches from the last four weeks, while Simon’s been playing five-eighth for the last eight weeks in Fogs (Cup) and has been going great guns,” he said.
“We do have a lot of injuries to quality players but if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t know how good guys like Chris Boss and Ma'a Ruua are.”
If Sunshine Coast wins and Wynnum Manly loses to Norths, the Sea Eagles will host a home semi-final next weekend.
SUNSHINE COAST v MACKAY
Tomorrow, Stockland Park, 2pm