The big-match experience and toughness of Steve Folkes are
Canterbury's surprise assets for tonight's semi-final elimination match against
Western Suburbs at Parramatta Football Stadium.
Coach Chris Anderson last night called Folkes into the team in place of
second-rower Scott Tronc, who will be a fresh reserve.
It was assumed Anderson would reward the 13 who brought Canterbury back
from 16-0 for a memorable 26-16 win over Cronulla on Sunday.
"I've brought Steve into the team for his strong defence and
experience,"Anderson said. "We'll see how it goes," he said when asked if Folkes
would make way for ball-player Tronc when the game opened up.
Anderson was taciturn, as always, but it seems obvious his words meant
Folkes would be there to keep cool heads and provide muscle against the opening
onslaught which is Wests' best chance of a win.
His participation completes a remarkable season for the 1986 Kangaroo and
member of all of Canterbury's 1980s grand-final teams.
Originally retired, Folkes pinch-hit for Anderson as hooker in the opening
rounds, then retired again before coming back a few weeks ago.
Folkes will, of course, meet former teammates Andrew Farrar, Paul
Langmack, Joe Thomas and David Gillespie-off-season defectors to Wests-and now
coached by former Canterbury mentor, Warren Ryan.
Much has been made of the grudge-match angle. Anderson said tersely: "We'd
like to beat them. We want to win."
Ryan played down the angle last night, saying he'd been gone a while and
there was even a seven- year amnesty on tax.
"They're an opposition football team," he said. "They're in the road.
Players may have an axe to grind. I haven't."
Grudge match or not, in the immortal words: "It will be no place for the
Canterbury will start favourites on the strength of a competitive pack led
by Bruce McGuire (another Ryan protege), and match-winning backs like Terry
Lamb, Ewen McGrady and Jonathan Davies.
Surveying his season, Welsh wizard and Cronulla matchwinner Davies said
last night: "It's not easy to say whether I'm a better player for
the(Australian) experience. It hasn't harmed me. I won't know until I go home. I
should be because of the intensity, training and defence-orientated game.
"I'm playing at centre now, which I prefer because there are more
opportunities. At fullback there is so much pressure. I was told when I came a
lot of players had left and Canterbury were rebuilding. It's a bonus making the
Terry Lamb? "He's a brilliant player-one of the greatest I've played with
because of his attitude, enthusiasm and ability."
Davies said he would decide when he returned to Britain whether to make
himself available for the touring British team next season or retire from
international football and play in Australia again.
Canterbury had a swim, a sauna and a light run in preparation for the game
At Campbelltown, Wests lost three-quarters Tony Cossato and Stan Presdee,
replaced by Trevor Cogger and Stephen Burns respectively. They received a bonus
when prop Darren Britt was cleared of a fractured cheekbone.
Asked if this team could emulate other Ryan squads and make the grand
final, the coach said: "Well, the impossible's sometimes possible. There are
some awesome forces paraded against us. It's a bit fanciful looking that far
Wests had a light run to fit Cogger and Burns into the pattern, and will
be heavily reliant on their forward strength and halves Jasons Taylor and Lidden
The winner will not be favoured to overcome the awesome forces paraded by
Canberra in the elimination semi on Saturday.
Win, lose or draw, both teams can look back on fine seasons.
Ryan has almost worked the miracle of the loaves and fishes with injuries
and the material he has had at his disposal.
Anderson has done an equally fine job constructing a new team at
Meanwhile, coach Tim Sheens said last night he expected Canberra's best
squad, including Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley, to be available for Saturday.
"They'll be right to go," Sheens said last night.
Sheens said Test prop Glenn Lazarus was training every day and would be a
part of Saturday's first-grade squad.
North Sydney fullback Paul Conlon has an injured back and is in some doubt
for Sunday's major semi-final against St George. Scott Wilson is on standby.
CANTERBURY: Ewan McGrady; Paul Doolan, Matthew Ryan, Darren Smith,
Jonathan Davies; Terry Lamb (c), Kevin Moore; Steve Reardon, Steve Folkes, Simon
Gillies, Bruce McGuire, Mark Brokenshire, Geordi Peats. Reserves: Marty
Crequer, Troy Clarke, Andrew Patmore, Scott Tronc, Glen Nissen, Troy Cassell,
Record against other Semi-Finalists in '91: v Penrith (lost 26-6, lost
v Manly (lost 22-12)
v Norths (won 19-10)
v Canberra (lost 18-16)
Biggest win: 36-8 v Newcastle (round 6)
Heaviest loss: 4-44 v Illawarra (round 3)
Play-off record: None
Top pointscorer: Davies (94)
Gamebreakers: McGrady, Davies, Lamb
WESTERN SUBURBS: Shaun Devine; Wayne Simonds, Trevor Cogger, Andrew
Farrar, Steve Burns; Jason Lidden, Jason Taylor; Graeme Wynn, David Gillespie,
Paul Langmack, Steve Jackson, Darren Britt, Joe Thomas (c). Reserves: Shaun
O'Bryan, Robert Burgess, Brett Docherty, Noel Goldthorpe, Doug Rawlings, Cameron
Blair, Angelo Alavanja, Ron Gibbs, Shane Flanagan, Mark Williams, Tony
Rampling, Jamie Ainscough.
Record against other semi-finalists in '91: v Penrith (won 12-8)
v Manly (lost 8-4, won 9-8)
v Norths (lost 22-18)
v Canberra (won 24-12, lost 36-8)
Biggest win: 47-12 v Parramatta (round 6)
Heaviest loss: 8-36 v Canberra (round 20)
Play-off record: lost to Parramatta 18-13
Top pointscorers: Taylor (155)
Gamebreakers: Taylor, Wynn, Langmack
HEAD-TO-HEAD IN '91: Round 14: Wests 15 bt Canterbury 6, at Belmore Sports