NAMBOUR coach Paul Green reckons cross-Coast rival Maroochydore is a much better outfit in 2013 and looms as a genuine finals contender after missing the playoffs last year.
The Toads were belted 75-5 yesterday by the Swans, who took their record to four wins in five games this season to lead the Palmwoods Hotel Cup ladder.
While Green admitted his team’s defence was non-existent yesterday, he said Maroochydore was simply merciless.
“They’ve improved all over the park this year,” he said. “They’re better drilled this year, they’re definitely fitter and they’re definitely stronger.
“They’ve got pretty basic structures but everyone is working well in a team, so they’re better prepared. And I think the biggest improvement is in their backs.”
Green, who still rated unbeaten Noosa as the team to beat this year, said Swans custodian Lasaro Manamoli was an ever-present danger.
“He returns the ball with interest. He’s got a huge boot and his running and support play are excellent,” he said.
“I’m sure there are some of our boys who just got sick of seeing him running at us, because he’s hard to stop and if he gets in the clear he’s hard to catch. He has size and speed and uses it very effectively.”
Green believed there was a clear contrast between Maroochydore’s and Nambour’s approaches to the Sunshine Coast A-grade competition.
“Maroochydore’s off-season in the gym and the fitness work they’ve done has told,” he said.
“Our boys just haven’t done that (work). They haven’t been doing the stuff they should have been doing.
“It’s just the way it is. We’ve got this cultural problem here and until the boys at the Toads realise just what they have to do to compete at a senior level on the Coast, then they’re going to face more of the same.
“You can’t play rugby here anymore like you used to. You can’t just rock up on a weekend and expect to get the result, because other teams are trying to find an edge and they’re putting the effort in and the work in.”
Nambour is lacking depth this season, especially in the backs, and has won just one of its five games.
Yesterday, the side also was without its main man, Mick O’Conner, who was called up to the Sunshine Coast Stingrays, and ball players Mark Fulloon and Andrew Parry.
Also yesterday, defending premier Caboolture defeated winless Fraser Coast 46-6 at Urangan and Caloundra beat USQ 32-21 at Stockland Park in a precursor to the Sunshine Coast’s Queensland Premier Grade match with Sunnybank.
Other results: Caboolture bt Fraser Coast 46-6, Caloundra bt USC 32-21
By Steele Taylor