Peter Playford happy with Stars tough road to the finals
Sitting third with three rounds remaining, the Sydney Stars need just one more victory to secure their first NRC finals berth.
Problem is, with a bye next week, they’ll need to beat either last year’s premiers (Brisbane), or last year’s minor premiers (Melbourne) to do so.
But don’t tell Stars coach Peter Playford that. In fact, he thinks his side has the best possible run to the finals out of all the nine teams.
“We’ve got to win one of these games to secure a spot, but it’s probably the best run into the finals you could have,” Playford told Rugby News.
“You play Brisbane who are the benchmark, then you’ve got a bye so you can freshen up and get all the niggles right and then you attack Melbourne in what could likely be a playoff or a quarter final match.”
Despite that, Playford said his side isn’t looking too far ahead and are focussed on beginning their assault on the back end of the season tonight against Brisbane City at Leichhardt Oval.
“We’re not talking about finals, I know it’s a cliché. But if you are going to get there, you don’t want to roll into the finals, I’ve never been a believer in that.”
“You need to build momentum leading into the finals and you can only do that by winning matches. I’d rather miss out on the finals, then go into a semi having lost our last two matches.”
After finishing last in their inaugural season, the Stars have been the competition’s big improvers in 2015, however Playford knows his side face a step up against the Super aligned franchises.
“We’ve won the games that we should of won, these games now against Canberra (last week), Brisbane and Melbourne are tougher, but they are the type of challenges you want.”
“We got spooked against Canberra and since then we made a few changes to the team, so I think we are in a much better position tonight to attack Brisbane, than they were a few weeks ago.”
The key tonight though, according to Playford, is an 80-minute performance.
“If you miss tackles, the scoreboard will show it. If you don’t stick to the game plan, the scoreboard will show it and the likes of Brisbane and Canberra will put you to the sword if you don’t aim up.”