His side might be favoured to fry the Emus for the second time in as many weeks, but Devonport coach Jeremy Scott is expecting a far tougher contest when Burnie return to Don Recreation Oval for Saturday’s TRU minor semi-final.
The Bulls ran out comfortable 36-20 victors in last week’s Round 14 Premiership clash to secure a home playoff spot, though Scott has little doubt fatigue played a role in the Emus’ up-and-down performance.
“We treated last week like our first final and that we needed to secure a home game, but we’ve got to temper that win with the fact a lot of their boys had backed up from the Div 2 grand final win,” Scott said.
“There were a few tired bodies in that Emus side, so we’re expecting a much closer game this weekend and it’s good to have that home advantage.”
Devonport remains a Premiership wildcard in 2023 despite mixed results throughout the regular season and Scott has high hopes for the weeks ahead.
“We’ve been in this place before where we’ve had to battle out way through a three-game finals series and we know it won’t be easy but everyone’s up for the challenge,” Scott said.
“Launceston is cracking along this year and really taking things to another level, plus we’ve got our friends from Taroona and Burnie still in the mix, so it’s going to be a great finals series.”
While there’s no second chance for the minor semi-final losers, the winners will face a daunting away trip to either Launceston or further down the Midland Highway pending the result of Saturday’s major semi-final.
Launceston enter the contest as favourites, hosts, minor premiers and reigning title holders but Taroona’s final-round stoush against University has the Penguins in good stead.
Promising young flyhalf Noah Kazarine looms a key player after starring against the students with three tries and seven conversions while Tigers flanker Marika Nadaulevu and centre Kyle Lombard have big roles to play if Launceston are to secure a third consecutive grand final berth.