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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

Sharks focused on finals task: Jupp

East Fremantle captain Matthew Jupp is confident the emergence of salary cap issues will not be a distraction as the Sharks look to win their first premiership since 1998.

The club released a statement on Saturday confirming an in-progress total player payments audit of the 2022 season had uncovered some financial irregularities, which they said were the result of “administrative errors.”

Jupp told Sports Breakfast he was “extremely impressed” with how the playing group had handled the news.

“It was a rough week. The players and the coaches found out about the news on Saturday. It was a bolt out of the blue, something we didn’t expect,” Jupp said.

“As much as it was an untimely thing to come out, it gave us a few days to settle the group. We addressed it as a club, senior leaders and the president and a couple of board members addressed the players, we aired it out.

“At the end of the day, there’s not a whole lot the players can do. It’s an administration issue, completely out of the control of the playing group and coaching staff.

“Once we addressed it, we gave ourselves the ability to move on … we’re ready to play Peel.”

Finishing on top of the ladder for the first time in 25 years gave the Sharks a break the first week of the finals, with Jupp saying his team got a first-hand look at the advantage when they played eventual premiers West Perth on the back of a week off in the second game in September last year.

“It gives you an opportunity to freshen up,” he said.

“We had a pretty decent block of games running into finals, I think we would’ve played six or seven in a row, which is usually around the time you’re tonguing for a bye or a week off to refresh the legs.

“Now it’s up to us to perform. I think it’ll have an effect, what effect, we’ll find out on Saturday.”

With the chance to secure direct passage to the grand final on the line in the first semi final against Peel Thunder on Saturday, Jupp said his side’s September theme was embracing the opportunity.

“They’re going to be tough to beat. We’re going to have to roll up in the contest and get to work,” he said.

“We have got a bit of history we can draw on, we pretty much know what their lineup is going to be, we know who’s qualified on a Freo front.

“They’re a quality outfit, they’re really well balanced, and we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them.”

The first semi-final between East Fremantle and Peel Thunder gets underway at 2:10pm on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval and is being broadcast live on 91.3 SportFM.

IMAGE: The West Australian.


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