WARRNAMBOOL footballer Sam Cowling could go back to the future on Saturday.
Cowling, 22, has found a niche in attack this season after establishing himself as a key defender.
But the versatile key position Blue could be called upon to man dangerous North Warrnambool Eagles forward David Haynes in the Hampden league preliminary final.
Cowling has kicked 27 goals this season, only drifting back to defence during “three or four games”.
“It’s like riding a bike — you don’t forget how to play the position and it’s a position I had held for the past three years,” he said.
“It is pretty comforting to go back.”
Cowling said he had played on Haynes numerous times, including in rare appearances in defence this season.
“Robbie Gregg is on fire so they’ve parked him in the goal square and David is running around,” he said.
“You don’t play AFL for no reason. He’s a good player obviously so I will try and limit his effect on the game and it comes down to help from the midfield as well.
“Every contest I have to be there with him. I don’t want to give him too much space, that’s my number one job.”
Cowling said the recruitment of versatile duo Peter Corredig and Sam Wilson had given Warrnambool more key position options and had allowed him to move into attack alongside Jason Rowan and Travis Graham.
“With Peter Corredig and Tim O’Keeffe we can chop and change and it’s added a string to our bow,” he said.
“We’ve lacked a bit of height throughout the years so it’s been good to have Pete Corredig come along and even Sam Wilson, who has taken a bigger body.”
Cowling said playing forward had developed his game.
“It’s a learning curve but I am enjoying it,” he said.
The Blues swingman said North Warrnambool Eagles, coming off a 99-point first semi-final drubbing of Cobden, were a dangerous side.
“They are going to take a lot of confidence out of their win against Cobden for sure,” he said.
“We are trying to limit fast starts and get a fast start ourselves.
“We don’t want to be playing catch-up, especially in a final.”
Cowling is in Melbourne for trade school this week, ruling him out of the Blues’ two training runs before Saturday’s do-or-die final.
The third-year apprentice linesman has played 20 games this season and feels prepared for the preliminary final showdown at Reid Oval.
“It’s the first year I have played every game,” he said. “I have had injuries the previous three years so it’s good to have a break (this week).
“We aren’t going to get fitter at this stage of the year, it’s all about recovery.”