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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Dubai Hurricanes target West Asia Trophy success with aim of finishing season 'as strongly as possible'

Tournament consists of the three sides who finished outside the top four of the West Asia Premiership

Dubai Hurricanes, in black and yellow, take on Dubai Sports City Eagles in the West Asia Trophy. Pawan Singh / The National
Dubai Hurricanes, in black and yellow, take on Dubai Sports City Eagles in the West Asia Trophy. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai Hurricanes will be using their frustration at missing out on a top-four finish in the West Asia Premiership to fuel their West Asia Trophy bid against Dubai Sports City Eagles on Friday.

That is the view of Mike Wernham, the Hurricanes coach, who says his side are intent on finishing their season on a high against the league’s newest club.

“I think we are going to see a passionate, quite frustrated side that is looking to blow off some emotion, given our disappointment with our final league position,” Wernham said.

“Our goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top four. During the second-halves of matches against teams who finished as the top four, we ran out of steam.

“We are looking to do our utmost to finish the season as strongly as possible.”

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The trophy is played for by the three sides who placed lowest in the seven-team West Asia Premiership.

Hurricanes, who will be playing a match for the first time in four weeks, before breaking for summer, will be facing an Eagles side who have quickly become rivals for them.

“Out of the two teams [Eagles and last-placed Abu Dhabi Saracens], with the amount of players at Eagles who have a past history of playing for Hurricanes, we wanted to play them a little more,” Wernham said.

“As a coach, I’ve been frustrated by our two games against Eagles, knowing we have left points out on the field. My big target for the team is to win as comfortably as possible.

“We know they have some guys who used to play for us who will be wanting this game even more so. This is a huge final for them, this is where they want to be.

“The fact they are in the running for silverware in their first season is credit to them as a club. We are showing them full respect.”

Eagles will be without Trae Gosling, a former Hurricane who has been one of the standout performers of their opening campaign, due to suspension.

But Sean Carey, the Eagles founder who is another ex-Hurricane, is optimistic.

“We are treating it very seriously,” Carey said. “They might see it as a [secondary] cup, but it is something we were targeting from the start of the season.

“We are happy to be there, in contention for some silverware after less than a year of existence.

“We have a friendly rivalry going with [Hurricanes]. I have as many friends on their team as I do on the Eagles team, so it is a great way to finish our first season.”