Captain Cairns expects Star to show true grit in Tralee battle
Keelan Cairns is calling on his Belfast Star team-mates to show their ruthless streak as they prepare to entertain Tralee at MCB tonight.
Cairns put in a captain's display on New Year's Eve when Star rallied from 15 points down at the break to defeat the Eagles but Tralee will be a very different proposition.
"Tralee are on a great run of results, they're in the top four and have some very big players so it's going to be tough. This is a real acid test," said Cairns ahead of tonight's Tayto-sponsored match.
"The last two games we have kept teams to 19 points in the second half which is great but we have to ask ourselves why are we allowing teams to hurt us so much before we play tough defence.
"We certainly can't afford to allow ourselves to be 15 down at the half against Tralee. We need to go out and be on our game from the start.
"We know the quality that Tralee bring and we need to be tough from the first buzzer."
Cairns has been pleased with the manner in which Star have developed since the arrival of American Dillon Stith a third of the way through the All Ireland Premier League campaign.
"It's been like two seasons rolled into one - before and after Dillon coming to the club," added Cairns.
"Dillon is just too big and athletic for this league - he's a special player. He makes life a lot easier for me and allows me to be more productive and all-round we are able to make life more difficult for teams. Hopefully it's like that against Tralee."