DESPITE falling to two straight losses to end the regular season and subsequently missing out on the minor premiership, the Shellharbour City Sharks remain confident they can go all the way in 2017.
Prior to the back-to-back defeats against Kiama and Port Kembla, the Sharks reeled off a remarkable seven straight victories – form that coach Abed Atallah knows his troops can rediscover.
“It’s all a mental thing for us – we have been training really well lately but haven’t been able to turn up and work as hard as we’ve needed to during the games,” Atallah said.
“But it’s a whole new ball game now being finals, so we have to put all that behind us and turn our form around.”
That turnaround starts on Sunday, when they host Kiama, who have got the better of them on both occasions this season, at Ron Costello Oval from 2.45pm in the major qualifying semi-finals.
“We need to focus on ourselves, instead of worrying too much about Kiama,” Atallah said.
“If we get back into the grind, complete our sets and are patient with the ball, opportunities will come.
“It’s up to us to be better at taking those opportunities than we have been the past fortnight.
“We know Kiama play a fast style of footy, so it’s up to us limit their pace and get on top of them with our strong play.”
Atallah’s team will be without the services of damaging forward Brad Chapman, who broke his jaw against Port Kembla last week but will be bolstered by the inclusions of Abe Atallah, Brock Skelly and Wade Aitken, who have all been out in recent weeks.