WDFNL FINALS | Contenders use dead rubber round to fine-tune finals preparations

Old Collegians' Eli Barker prepares to get a handball away. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Old Collegians' Eli Barker prepares to get a handball away. Picture: Morgan Hancock

CONTENDERS dreaming of premiership success are set to use a dead rubber round of Warrnambool and District Football Netball League action to fine-tune their finals preparations.

Top five sides Old Collegians, Kolora-Noorat, Nirranda, Timboon Demons and Merrivale are chasing momentum in the final home-and-away round of the year.

Four points will assure Old Collegians’ its second consecutive minor premiership, leaving the door open for grand final redemption.

Warriors mentor Josh Reichman said his side had a narrowed focus leading into the final round of competition.

“We’re focusing on what we can control. We want a four quarter effort, and that’s something we’ve worked on the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“South Rovers are a team that make you defend a lot, so we’ll prepare (for finals) by trying to win the ball back to keep possession 50-50.”

Danny Finn, Kolora-Noorat’s third-year coach, had a similar philosophy.

He said the high-flying Power were determined to create “good habits” for their eighth finals campaign in nine seasons.

Grappling with an injury-hit list, Merrivale is hoping to field a full-strength side for its elimination final showdown against Timboon next week.

Playing coach Jason Rowan, captain Josh Sobey and star ruckman Rhys Raymond are all racing to be fit for the first final.

“We’ve had to give them a bit of time off before finals,” Tigers assistant coach Matt Brown said.

“We definitely won’t be taking Russells Creek lightly this week.

“We’re really hopeful we can get our best on side on the park for the elimination final.”

Reigning premiership coach Shane Threlfall put the spotlight on structures and tightening the Blues’ gameplan in a final round hit-out against East Warrnambool.

“It’s really a dress rehearsal for finals,” Threlfall said.

“We need to get our structures and systems in the right touch. East have played some good footy.”

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