Improved discipline vital to Port Kembla's success

Port Kembla captain-coach Mark Simon
Port Kembla captain-coach Mark Simon


Port Kembla captain-coach Mark Simon makes no secret of his team's mindset for Sunday's duel with Nowra-Bomaderry at Noel Mulligan Oval.

The Blacks have slipped to the lower end of the ladder after losses to Warilla and Jamberoo and view the clash with the last-placed Jets as a must-win.

"It definitely is. We've been playing well enough for patches of the games to win, but we're just falling behind at the 80-minute mark," Simon said.

"We're desperate for another win because we don't want to fall behind. We had a chance to jump in front of Jamberoo, but now we have to win twice to get over the top of them."

Port were just outside the top five a fortnight ago.

Simon said his team was staying patient.

"We're a pretty laid back team," he said.

"We're definitely going forward. We just need a bit of luck, some of those 50-50 decisions to go our way. We're a confidence-playing side, and once we get that win, hopefully we can get a roll on."

The Blacks endured a tough initiation into Group Seven last year, finishing well off the pace in the race for finals spots.

Simon believes the experience was character-building.

"We went through it last year and we're a pretty resilient side," he said.

"We're moving forward and training hard still, and we're desperate for a win. We can't get too far behind or we'll end up playing that chasing game at the end."

The Jets also need to win to stay in top five contention.

"They might be at the bottom but they've got a stronger team this year and they've been playing well," Simon said.

"We know it's going to be hard, but it's our home game and we're going to pride ourselves on defending our ground. We'll step up and play a bit harder at home, and hopefully we can get over the top of them.

"There's no key players out. There's just a few niggly injuries, but every side gets that and you just have to push through it."

The Blacks are aiming to reduce their penalty count.

"Definitely our discipline has to be good. That let us down last week because we played for 11 men for a fair bit of the game," Simon said.

"I was one who let my discipline slip last week and I'll definitely be out there to correct it this weekend, and I'm sure the other boys will too."

Albion Park-Oak Flats will need a big form reversal to beat Jamberoo at Centenary Field, while Kiama face reigning premiers Gerringong at Kiama Showground.

Warilla host Milton-Ulladulla on Saturday and Berry-Shoalhaven Heads battle Shellharbour at Berry Showground.


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