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30 October, 2020

Saints facing a big task

This Saturdays senior AFL Cairns Grand Final between Port Douglas and the Cairns Saints on the surface looks as one sided as you will ever see in any sport.

By Brad Sinclair

The three times that these two teams have met this year, the results have been in Port Douglas’ favour by the tune of 82, 126 & 96 points.

 That’s an average of 101 points and unfortunately only a minor miracle will reverse the result in tomorrow’s biggest game of the year. 

The Saints have been magnificent all year and first year coach Wes Glass has been fantastic, but this is a very big task. A task made even greater after losing his captain and major playmaker Cade Wellington after a two week suspension was handed down during the week for an incident in the first quarter last week against South Cairns.

  On top of that Chris Novy has reinjured an abdomen complaint that he received in Round 3 and won’t play either. 

Then there is the experienced Jesse Travaglini who looked like he injured his left hamstring in the third quarter last week.  

He is predicted to take his place in the side, but hamstrings are a very risky injury to go into any game let alone a Grand Final against arguably the best side seen in Cairns for the past 10 to 20 years.  

He was the Saints best player in the preliminary final and Glass will be very hopeful that he does get up in time.

The Saints have some other very good players in 2020 Crathern Medallist Josh Matulis, Zeb Paulger, Rhys Bridge, Travis Tedmanson, Tom Messenger and Oakley Wallace but there is an incredible amount of Croc players that they simply need to stop.

  Brad Cooper, looking at a fifth premiership in a row, won’t be a coach that is ever going to take this game lightly. 

With the benefit of having last weekend off he put his players through a rigorous three hour session at 8am at Cazalys and they looked cherry ripe for this weekends game.

  With a midfield that has ten players going through there at any stage Coopers ability to rotate his players and keep them fresh is a strategy he will no doubt use with the Saints class players out of the team. 

Players like Jackson McDonald, Tyson Milne, Jesse Mawson, Daniel Moore, Josh Mawson, Jai Florent and others giving Ben Johnson, Kye Chapple, Adam Gross, Isaac Baker & Sam Giblett a never ending supply this could be a headache that turns into a migraine very quickly.

Grand Finals have a habit of dishing up something out of the ordinary and the Saints will be having sleepless nights this week thinking about what that out of the ordinary is going to be.

  With nothing to lose and all expectations and pressure on the Port Douglas side, Glass is actually in a position where he can try anything and as crazy as it may seem at the time, whatever he comes up with is better than going in predictable. 

Because the Crocs have been able to smash that predictablity in their past three encounters.

  In a season that never looked like getting underway and a season that has been extremely tough on all players, coaches, staff & volunteers, this year has never been normal. 

It’s hotter at the end of October as to the usual end of September Grand Final, quarters are shorter and even the wind at Cazalys blows to a different end at this time of year.

  Maybe, just maybe the end result may not be normal. Whatever the result, both Brad Cooper and Port Douglas and Wes Glass and the Cairns Saints have been terrific.

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