Hough not concerned despite skid

The North Beach Sea Eagles will look to return to the winner’s circle when they host the South Perth Lions in Round Five of the Smarter Than Smoking Premiership on Saturday.

The Sea Eagles have dropped their last two games, including a tense 28-22 loss to the Fremantle Roosters last weekend, but Coach John Hough says he isn’t concerned.

“Even though the results haven’t gone for us we’re still improving and hoping to improve again against a really tough South Perth team,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough battle and we’re preparing really well for it.”

Despite last weekend’s loss away at the Roosters, the Sea Eagles scored the last two tries of the game to set up a grandstand finish.

“We pushed right to the very end,” Hough said.

“We’ve got to keep sticking to the structure and believe in what we’re doing.”

In team news, North Beach has the luxury of rolling out a relatively unchanged team for Round Five, with the added return of star five-eight Josh Toole.

Toole missed the Roosters clash but is set to return to the fold following his Man of the Match display in the ANZAC Challenge a fortnight ago.

“He did fantastically well and off the back of that got picked in the State team, so his performances have been good,” Hough said.

In Toole’s absence last week, Hough praised the performances of young halves combination Jeremey Wallace and Charlie Pulsford.

“I thought our guys who deputised for Josh – Jeremey and Charlie worked really well together,” he said.

“We’re not going to have the luxury of having Josh every week, so we need to have a backup plan.”

Their Round Five opponents, South Perth, are coming off a strong 50-16 win over the Willagee Bears last time out.

Mason Hiko scored twice, while Scott Jones kicked seven goals as the Lions recorded their second win of the season.

“Across the board, they’ve got really key players – we need to be on our guard,” Hough acknowledged.

“I’m more focussed on the performance and the result will take care of itself.”

The game will take place at Charles Riley Reserve with kick off at 3.30pm.

In other games around the league, Fremantle put their unbeaten record on the line with a trip to face the Joondalup Giants at 3.30pm, with Rockingham Sharks looking to make it three wins in a row when they host the winless Willagee Bears from 5.30pm.

All games will take place on Saturday.