NORTH Warrnambool Eagles defender Tom Batten says a settled back six is crucial to their Hampden premiership chances at Reid Oval on Saturday.
The Eagles’ defence has suffocated sides in 2016, keeping their opponents to 10 goals or less in 17 of their 19 matches.
Their back line is the second-stingiest in the competition – behind grand final opponent Koroit.
That defensive mindset has helped complement the Eagles’ attack which is by far the most potent in the competition.
Batten, a capable swingman who finished equal fourth in the Maskell Medal after a strong season as a permanent defender, said two unassuming recruits had bolstered the Eagles’ back half.
“As a whole collective back six, we’ve been working really well together and we’ve got some really good players down there and the inclusions of Sam Doukas and Luke van Heugten have been really good,” he said.
“They just play their role exactly like everyone else in the team.
“They are very team-oriented.
“Everyone just plays their role and does what the coaches ask of them and I think that’s really what’s taken us to the next step.
“We’re playing as a group and helping each other out. It’s been really fun and exciting.”
Long-time Eagle Batten said he was excited to be playing in his first grand final at a club which had worked through tough periods.