It's all or nothing for Frenchville in preliminary final
FOOTBALL: "There ain't no second chances.”
Frenchville coach Justin Kilshaw says that stark reality will be driving his troops when they take on Clinton in the CQ Premier League preliminary final on Saturday night.
The winner will advance to the season decider against minor premiers Cap Coast, who booked their place in the grand final in a thrilling penalty shoot-out against Clinton last week.
Kilshaw knows his side will be up against it, playing the in-form Gladstone side at home, but the return last week of Jesse Thompson, Zhayd Harbin, and Tim and Ryan Hickey means Frenchville is the strongest it's been all season.
"They'll certainly be favourites on their home ground. We struggle to get results there so it would be massive for us to get the win,” Kilshaw said.
"That said, we're certainly looking forward to it and we'll definitely have the best side we've had all year out on the park on Saturday.
"It's that time of the year where there ain't no second chances so it's all or nothing.”
Frenchville, who last year became the first team in the modern era to have won four consecutive CQ Premier League titles, have had a testing year due to injury and player unavailability.
Kilshaw said it had been a struggle all season and given he had been unable to field the same team all season up until the last two weeks, Frenchville had done well to make the finals.
But now they are in the preliminary final, Kilshaw is confident his players' big-game experience will come to the fore.
"We really just have to focus on ourselves and our strengths,” he said.
"We've scored 16 goals in the last two games so we've started to hit our straps in an attacking sense.
"Defence will certainly be key; if we can defend well it will go a long way to getting the result.”
Kilshaw is expecting another big game from Ryan Horan, who has been a revelation at centre back.
The experienced trio of Thompson, Jordan Miller and Paul Jackson should also have a major influence on the game, while Ryan Hickey off the bench would bring the X-factor.
"We've got a lot of big-game players and they have the ability to win the big games,” Kilshaw said.
"There's a concern we're not as fit as we would like, especially given those four key players only returned last week, but if we can take our opportunities on the day, then who knows.”
The game kicks off at Clinton at 7pm on Saturday.