Atherton look to crow against Mossman-Port Douglas

After a narrow defeat by Yarrabah last week, Atherton Roosters will aim to dig deep and notch up a win at home against reigning premiers Mossman-Port Douglas this Saturday at Mungalli Creek Dairy Stadium.

It wasn't the best start for Atherton as in the 14th minute, they lost their fullback Nick Pratten who did his hamstring, while James Pedro also suffered bad concussion in the first half. 

Two tries soon after half time helped steer Yarrabah Seahawks to a 28-22 win over Atherton Roosters at Mungalli Creek Dairy Stadium last Saturday.

The Roosters led 18-12 at halftime, but their game was riddled with mistakes in the second half which helped Yarrabah seal a six-point victory.

In Reserve grade, Roosters and Yarrabah ground out a 22-22 draw after the visitors led 22-12 at the break. The Roosters Under 18 side ran in seven tries to register a 36-24 win over Yarrabah.

The Roosters had a strong start to the season with three straight wins against Mareeba, Edmonton and Innisfail until Round 4; when Cairns Brothers ended their winning run 28-18 in wet and slippery conditions at Stan Williams Park.

Atherton's Graham Clark Jnr in Round 4 action against Cairns Brothers Photo: Maria Girgenti
Atherton's Graham Clark Jnr in Round 4 action against Cairns Brothers Photo: Maria Girgenti

Atherton bounced back with a six-point win against Southern Suburbs in one of their toughest and tightest games of the season before a bye and then travelled away and went on to defeat Kangaroos by six points.

Roosters head coach Graham Clark Snr said last week's loss to Yarrabah was a game they should have won, but they didn't play well enough.

"They (Yarrabah) just executed things better than us on the day," Clark said.

He felt Atherton were the better team for a majority of the game, but lost it in the first 15 minutes of the second half due to a lack of depth.

"I pulled the starting group off and brought up Kobe Martin from Under 18s and Reserve grade players Adam Parnell, James Coyle and James Pedro," Clark said. 

"I feel our middle guys need to lift their game a notch, especially when taking us forward and they need to support and work together as a team, rather than just individually."

A scrum feed for Atherton in Round 4 of CDRL action against Cairns Brothers Photo: Maria Girgenti
A scrum feed for Atherton in Round 4 of CDRL action against Cairns Brothers Photo: Maria Girgenti

Clark said one of Atherton's strengths last season was great team support and finishing off line breaks, but this season "it's not happening which is disappointing".

"While we don't quite have the depth of some of the other teams, we are slowly building and are in a much better position than we were at the same time last year," Clark said. 

Clark said so far Atherton had played all the top teams and while they were not taking things lightly, in their run home, they were hoping to get the wins against lower placed sides such as Mareeba, Tully and Ivanhoes.

At training this week, Clark said he put an emphasis on support and working as a unit rather than individually.

"As long as we are competitive against Mossman and the younger players improve from last week, I feel we are in with a real shot. In footy, while there is an element of luck involved, it will come down to who is more hungry for the win."

The Roosters line up will be similar to last week, although they will be missing Pratten, hooker Ned Blackman and Mae Mani who has been called up for Northern Pride duties.

Atherton full back Nick Pratten in action against Cairns Brothers will be out this week due to injury Photo: Maria Girgenti
Atherton full back Nick Pratten in action against Cairns Brothers will be out this week due to injury Photo: Maria Girgenti

Clark said one positive aspect from last week was the younger players who stepped up to A Grade and now have some vital game experience and an understanding of what is expected.

This Saturday's home game between Atherton - who are currently sitting second on the ladder - against sixth-placed Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks is guaranteed to be a cracker, so he hoped there would be a stadium full of vocal supporters to cheer the home side on.

Games kick off at 3:30pm with women's touch league followed by Reserve Grade at 4.30pm, Under 12s junior game at 6pm and A Grade at 7pm.