North Beach Sea Eagles coach John Hough says his side are focussed on taking one step closer to securing the WA Smarter Than Smoking minor premiership when they host the Rockingham Sharks on Saturday.
In the penultimate round of the season, Hough says his side’s full focus is on the Sharks despite having an in-form Fremantle Roosters hot on their tails in the minor premiership race.
“The focus is to Rockingham on Saturday – so we’re making sure we’re ready and firing for that,” Hough said.
“We’re just taking each game as it comes.”
With a two-point lead over the Roosters heading into the final two games, Hough knows his side have their fate in their own hands, however.
“We’re not worried about anyone else other than Rockingham,” he said.
“If we keep winning – that’s it.”
Losers of just one game so far this season – a 21-20 heartbreaker against the Sharks in Round 12, the Sea Eagles have led the competition from the offset, with Hough hopeful his side can finish the job and secure a second-straight minor premiership.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re switched on,” Hough said.
North Beach will have to be on the top of their game come Saturday, however, as they host a Rockingham side who have won their last four games to surge into finals contention.
Wins over the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs, Joondalup Giants, Sea Eagles themselves, Willagee Bears and a bye mean the Sharks have collected maximum points across the past five rounds.
“Rockingham will be coming up trying to do the double,” Hough said.
“They’ve got threats all across the board – we’ve got to be really wary of everyone.”
Fresh off the bye round last weekend, Hough hopes his side are refreshed for the run home.
“It’s been good – we’ve recharged the batteries,” Hough said.
“It’s been a long old season so we’ve just given them a bit of a break.
“I said to the boys to go think about something else.”
In team news, North Beach welcome back Josh Benjamin and Dave McCullogh, while Rockingham make four changes from the side who defeated Willagee 86-4 last weekend.
Five-try hero Alestair Parmenter retains his spot, while enforcer Luke Hughes returns after a week on the sidelines.
In the competition’s other games, Fremantle host the South Perth Lions, while Ellenbrook put their top-four hopes on the line against Joondalup.
All of the games kick off at 3.30pm on Saturday.