K rock Football

Carson confident of return to form

How will St Joseph’s respond to its first loss of the season? (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

ST Joseph’s coach Paul Carson has backed his players to hit back hard after suffering its first loss of the season last week.

The two-time reigning premier faces fellow grand finalist St Mary’s at Drew Oval on Saturday afternoon after being on the end of a 42-point defeat by Colac.

“If there’s one thing I know about this group, they’re really proud, and not too many of them play two bad games in a row,” Carson said.

“And that’s our expectation, too. We set a high standard for ourselves and each other – both coaches and players – and we’re looking for a big response.”

Having conceded an average of just under 47 points per game in the opening eight rounds, Joeys had 100 points score against it for the first time since last year’s qualifying final loss to the Saints.

“Before the weekend gone, we were the No.1 defensive team as far as score against, and we really pride ourselves on the way we defend the footy and defend our position, whether it be in close or out in the open,” Carson said.

“But, on the weekend, we just didn’t do that at all. We left big gaping holes everywhere, and we got opened up.”

St Joseph’s won’t be taking St Mary’s lightly, with the Saints winning five of its last six matches after starting the season 0-3, including a 66-point loss to Joeys in Round 1.

Among their wins was a four-point defeat of Colac at Central Reserve.

“We’re really wary of St Mary’s. They’re going to be a different team to what we faced in Round 1, and they’ve got a bit of momentum behind them now,” Carson said.

“It’s going to be a good game.”

VFL-listed duo Jordan Keras and Curtis McCarthy look set to return for St Joseph’s after being forced to rest by Geelong last week.

Fellow Cat Dan Capiron is also in the mix to play with Joeys. However, Carson concedes Jackson McLachlan is likely to spend more time in the navy blue and white hoops than the red, gold and black stripes.

“He’s one who’s got a lot of X factor and someone we’d love to get back in the mix. But, if it’s best for his footy to be at Geelong, that’s great, we support him,” Carson said.

“He’s playing really good footy at the minute, so we wish him all the best.

“He still spends a lot of time at our footy club. He’s there for dinner on Thursdays and, when he can, he’s at our games and sits on in all the meetings.

“He’s very much still a part of it, other than being on the field.”

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