PANORAMA Platypi will have key playmaker Claudia McLaren on deck when the Western Women's Rugby League opens minor premiers take on Goannas in their semi-final at Oberon this Sunday.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Despite having relocated to Brisbane the Platypi star has made time in her schedule to help the team try and make their way into a grand final.
Platypi coach Kev Grimshaw said it's wonderful to have one of the team's best decision makers in the mix when needed most.
"That's commitment. We spoke about it before she flew up, and she said that if she could work around her uni work up there then she'd come back. She's staying for the full week," he said.
"It's a bit like Wayne Bennett with Alfie Langer, when he flew back in to play in the State of Origin. Claudia's very committed, but the rest of the team have been as well. I put time and effort into it as well and I expect the same out of the girls, and that's what we've been getting."
Panorama haven't had the chance to take on Goannas this season since the Dubbo-based side forfeited their round match.
Grimshaw said it's refreshing in a sense to go into a match with nothing to go off beforehand.
"Our expectations are pretty high for what we can do. It's also more about 'let's worry what we can do' rather than 'let's worry about what the opposition might do," he said.
"The girls have mentioned that they know this or that player, which is great to know, but our main focus on the day is making sure that we play the way that we want to play.
"We have to be really strong in defence because they put 20 on Woodbridge and they are a very strong side. It means that they can attack so we've got to be good in our structures."
And it's in those structures that the Platypi have constantly battled to stay at a high level.
It was an area that was exposed in last round's defeat to Castlereagh, where fatigue led to Panorama moving away from the shape that had kept their opponents in check.
Grimshaw said the team have still shown great improvement in that area - now's the time to put it all together.
"We brought Kurt Hancock in to do some defensive work before the season. You've got to be able to defend properly at the pointy end of the competition, so it was great to bring in Kurt who is great with defensive technique and work around the ruck," he said.
"Over the course of the five weeks I think all the girls got a great idea of how to approach things in defence. Only after we worked on our defensive structure that's when we looked at attack, because with the footy in hand they're very good.
"When you get tired you get away from your structures and that's what happened to us at Castlereagh. We started off well, playing the way we wanted for 25 minutes, but after that we went away from what we wanted to do.
"I wouldn't call it a wake up call. It just showed that if we stick to our structures then we can be competitive against anyone."
The Platypi opens will round out a big day for the club with their game at 2.30pm at the Oberon Sports Ground.
Platypi will also have their under 13s, 15s and 19s in action, with the minor premier under 13s starting the day's play at 9.30am.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.