COBDEN coach Wayne Robertson isn’t talking finals just yet despite the Bombers upsetting ladder-leader Camperdown on Saturday.
The Bombers’ nine-point triumph, their second consecutive win against a higher-ranked opponent in two weeks, stamped them as genuine finals contenders and shook up the race for the five.
While the 10.7 (67) to 8.10 (58) result was good news for the Bombers, Camperdown coach Bernard Moloney said it would have ramifications for some of his players, suggesting the axe might be wielded at selection on Thursday night.
With five games remaining, Cobden is fifth, one game clear of sixth-placed North Warrnambool Eagles but crucially it is now equal on points with fourth-placed Koroit.
The Bombers are only a game behind third-placed South Warrnambool after its win at home.
“The thing we have in our favour is when we played North Warrnambool last time (round 11) everyone plays each other and we’ve beaten Camperdown and Koroit which North have to play again,” Robertson said.
“We just have to continue winning and keep playing good footy. If you are going to play finals, you have to beat good teams.”
As early as Saturday, Cobden gets another chance to test itself, facing Warrnambool at Reid Oval.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in this group. They are a group that is eager to learn. We have done a lot of work testing their limits and it’s surprising what you can do when you push yourself.”
Robertson said ruckman Levi Dare, his brother Joe Dare and captain Paul Foster had match-winning roles.
But he said the Bombers had dropped their intensity for four minutes in the third quarter when the Magpies kicked 3.2 to open a handy gap. But his side re-grouped and kicked three late goals to go to the last break a goal down.
Camperdown coach Bernard Moloney accepted some of the blame for the Magpies’ performance, revealing a step-up in training in the past three weeks might have contributed to the loss.
But he didn’t want to take credit away from Cobden. “We probably didn’t make the most of our chances,” he said.
“Cobden were impressive, they were hard at it and we just couldn’t get our game going.
“They zoned us really well and they didn’t allow us to feed our forwards. Our forwards didn’t present as well as they should have.
“It was disappointing on our part but all credit to Cobden. We were outplayed and outcoached. We’ve got a bit of work to do,”he said.
Moloney said star midfielder Sam Chapman would return for Saturday’s match against Koroit after playing with the Vic Country side at the national championships.
He refused to use Chapman’s absence as a reason for the loss.
“That could happen in finals. You have to go with who you’ve got. It was blokes who’ve been around a bit who didn’t perform and we are going to seriously look at some of those guys. We’ve had three or four changes each week and it’s not ideal. But we might have to make some forced changes this week to reward blokes playing well and wake a few out of their slumber.”
He said the Magpies’ step-up in training — a mini pre-season mid-season — was aimed at giving his players a better opportunity at finals success, saying it was a case of short-term pain for long-term gain.
“We’ve got to prove that. That’s what we are looking at. We had a really heavy night Thursday and I thought we looked a bit flat and slow and I take responsibility for that,” he said.