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No excuse for Suns letdown: McKenna

Justin Chadwick 03/06/2011 05:03:27 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says there will be no excuses for his fledgling team to fall flat in Saturday's clash with West Coast at Patersons Stadium.

McKenna claims the travel factor and last week's taxing game against Geelong should have little bearing on the AFL match.

The Suns, who led Geelong at half-time last week before losing by 66 points, were rank underdogs against the Eagles, but McKenna said there would be a price to pay if his team weren't competitive.

"Certainly (we) wouldn't use travel as an excuse," McKenna said on Friday.

"I don't think any other clubs do and we shouldn't start either.

"With a young group, I think what that does is provide them with the opportunity (to shine).

"Now if they don't step up and grab their opportunity, well they know they're out of the side fairly quickly.

"We would have had 25 debutants after this weekend.

"Well, we'll play the 26th and 27th (if players don't perform).

"If you want to stay in the side, you understand how we expect you to play.

"And if you don't, you'll be quickly out of it. I don't think there'll be a letdown (despite the big build-up to the Geelong game last week), that's for sure."

McKenna said contact with West Coast coach and former premiership teammate John Worsfold had been somewhat limited in the lead-up to the game.

"We went to the breakfast (function) this morning and I understand he's got (his) game face on, because it's probably the first social function I've seen him actually talk at and not eat," McKenna said.

"He loves his food. So he did his bit and got up and left before he had breakfast.

"If he's getting up and leaving his breakfast behind, he's deadly serious, so look out."

Gold Coast would be eager to celebrate skipper Gary Ablett's 200th game with a win, but McKenna said he wouldn't use the milestone as a prime motivating tool for his troops.

"Why would I expect the boys to pull the rabbit out of the hat just for Gaz and a milestone?" McKenna said.

"We'd expect the boys to be pulling the rabbit out of the hat every game they play and that's what we expect.

"Look, it's special for Gary and we're going to try to make it special.

"But I don't think it's going to be the motivation that tips us into playing 120 minutes of great footy."

McKenna hoped the inclusion of former Collingwood big man Josh Fraser to join Zac Smith in the ruck would help counter the influence of dominant Eagles duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

"Would we have liked him to play maybe one or two games in the seconds? We probably do," McKenna said of Fraser, returning from an ankle injury.

"But against that ruck combination, we're happy to bring him back in, because what that does is help the load of Zac, helps the load of Tommy Nicholls. And I don't think it was fair on Charlie Dixon and even Tommy Lynch to try and ruck up against those two boys."

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