DENNINGTON managed just six goals in its Warrnambool and District league qualifying final defeat to Merrivale last weekend.
Old Collegians booted 19 as they stormed past Allansford in the last-chance elimination final, although no single player finished with more than four.
They are the worrying statistics facing Dennington coach Ben Parkinson leading into the Dogs-Warriors first semi-final at Merrivale Recreation Reserve tomorrow.
Parkinson was insistent his players had moved on from their humbling against the Tigers, but not without learning some lessons about kicking winning scores.
Most pertinent has been about their delivery into the forward line and making life easy for spearheads Darcy Lewis, Chris Keilar and Andrew Niklaus.
“I thought our forward line was pretty dysfunctional last week. We need to set that up a little bit better, especially on Merrivale, it’s a big ground,” Parkinson said.
“Forwards need to be pushing up the ground taking marks for us. Our midfield needs to spread when we get the footy, as well as work back defensively.”
Parkinson said the Dogs’ response to the defeat this week had been as positive. He said their skills on Thursday night were “the best they’ve been for a long time”.
“They (Old Collegians) are going in playing some really good footy. It’s do or die for both sides, I’d say it’d be pretty hot early, both sides wanting to win,” he said.
“They’ve done a terrific job after not winning a game last year, that momentum is carrying them through. It’s pretty important to start well.”
Dennington made two changes to the side which played Merrivale, losing Jono Nevill (hamstring) and Matt Dwyer (flu).
Jordan Scott, who suffered what seemed a serious ankle injury in round 17, returns while Jack Fitzgerald replaces Dwyer as the substitute.
Old Collegians named a seven-man bench on Thursday night and will finalise their side today.
Ball carriers Jimmy McKenzie and Jake O’Flynn and key defenders Jack Marney and Vincent Fogarty come into the side.
The only omission was Scott Williams (broken wrist), with either Marney or Fogarty certain to take his spot.
Old Collegians coach Daryl Beechey said the Warriors’ better run proved the difference in their elimination final triumph against the Cats.
“We knew it was going to be a close contest early and that’s how it panned out. It was a bit of an arm wrestle but we were able to work them over,” he said.
“When the game opened up, our run took over a bit, we started using our forward line a bit better. That’s what won it for us.”
Beechey said replicating their intensity and pressure tomorrow would give them every chance to take another step forward in finals.
“We’re always looking to improve and step up again, I’m pretty big on not just being happy with what we’ve done,” he said.
“But if we produce a carbon copy of last week we’ll go pretty close. That’s the benchmark we want to be at but we’ll look to improve again.”