Every game a must win
Queensland may be top of the table, but a shortage of rink wins could cause serious problems down the track. Mark Casey has issued a rallying cry to his teammates, telling them every game is a must-win for Queensland’s undefeated men.
“We’ve won our first four matches, but we’re actually behind on rink wins, so if we happen to drop a match we could be in a lot of trouble,” said Casey following Queensland’s 68-47 victory over ACT.
Ironically it was Casey’s first loss of the championships, with his team of Brendon Egan, Alex Murtagh and Anthony Fantini going down 17-20 to ACT’s Robert Chesher.
Instead Nathan Rice was the star of Queensland’s clash with ACT, guiding Mark Thatcher, Sean Baker and Robert Wild to a 26-12 drubbing of ACT’s star skip Andrew Howie.
Kelvin Kerkow’s rink also notched up their second win of the championships, edging out Damon Jeffery 20-15.
The victory gives Queensland’s men a perfect 4-0 record at this year’s championships, but they still have some big tests to come, with New South Wales, West Australia and South Australia looming in rounds 5 to 7.
Queensland are currently top of the table, as the only undefeated side in the competition, but with only five rink wins from nine, the loss of a match could prove disastrous.
“New South Wales are a very dangerous team,” Casey said.
“They’ve got quality players right throughout the team and they beat us the last time we played.
“WA are another top class team and then our last game is against SA, who have only lost one game so far.
”We’re in a good place at the minute, but we have to keep focused and make sure we win our last three games,” he said.
Casey has been in blistering form since the Sides kicked off on March 30 and he admits being overlooked for Australia’s Commonwealth Games team has fired him up.
“I was obviously really disappointed not to be selected, it was something I was aiming for,” the Helensvale star said.
“But there are only a certain number of places in the team, so everyone can’t get in.
“I don’t know if I’d say I’ve a point to prove at the Sides…the Comm Games team has been selected and I’ve moved on from that…but it probably has fired me up a bit.
“But at the end of the day, playing for your state is really enough motivation to get fired up for the Australian Sides, you don’t need anything else.
“This is about winning for Queensland and for the guys on the team, that’s what we’re all doing it for.”
While Casey was disappointed to not to make the Comm Games team, he admits bowls is no longer the most important thing in his life.
“When you’ve got a young family it changes your priorities a little bit,” said Casey, whose wife Trhysa gave birth to a baby girl, Eva, in January.
The couple also have a son, Jackson (23 months), ensuring there is very little sleep going on in the Casey household these days.
“I love bowls, it’s a huge part of my life, but it definitely comes second to my family these days…they’re the most important thing,” said Casey.
Having said that, come tomorrow Casey’s focus will be firmly on Shane Garvey and taking down the NSW stalwart.
But Garvey will be no walkover, with Ray Pearse, Mathew Pietersen and Mark Berghofer in his ranks.Rice and co. face David Ferguson’s side of Carl Healey, John Green and former Queenslander Ben Twist, while Kerkow’s crew may just have the toughest task of all, taking on Matthew Baus, Terry Antram, Wayne Turley and Aron Sherriff.
It’s shaping up to be a cracking game that may just decide the outcome of this year’s championships.
Round 5 action kicks off at Tasmania’s South Burnie Bowls Club at 9am tomorrow.