HAMPDEN league premiership coaches Scott Carter and Nigel Kol believe top-quality teams can respond from heavy defeats on the eve of finals.
Flag fancy Port Fairy conceded 16 first-half goals on its way to a humbling 69-point final round loss to qualifying final opponent Camperdown.
But Carter and Kol expect the result to have little bearing on Saturday’s rematch at Cobden Recreation Reserve.
Both coaches stressed winning was the ideal preparation for a premiership tilt but that there were factors which impacted home-and-away form late in the season.
Carter, who led Warrnambool to back-to-back flags in 2012-13, said Port Fairy would take confidence into September.
“It (round 18) was a dead-rubber and subconsciously sometimes it’s hard to get your head around,” he said.
“It also may have been a case of not playing all of their cards and they could have tried a few different match-ups.”
Carter said he’d experienced a similar flat spot as both a player and coach at Warrnambool.
“In 2001 we finished on top and lost the last two home and away games,” he said. “We didn’t have a heap to play for. We went ‘bang, bang’ and straight through to the grand final and won it convincingly too.
“In my last year of coaching in 2015, North Warrnambool got over the top of us in the last quarter (of the final round).
“We had wrapped up second and they had to beat us to secure a double chance and the following week (in the qualifying final) we beat them by 80 points.
“It proves it (a major turnaround in a short space of time) can be done.”
Carter said it was hard to split the Seagulls and Magpies.
“I don’t think Port Fairy lost much from that game and on the same token I think Camperdown gained confidence,” he said.
“Even though only two didn’t play – (Dan) Nicholson and (Matt) Sully are their two best players and two of the best five in the competition.”
Kol, who led South Warrnambool to the 2011 flag, said he “wouldn’t read too much into it”.
“I have seen 10-goal turnarounds plenty of time in my career,” he said.
“It’s always good to go in with winning form because it gives you confidence but at the end of the day it’s about the personnel playing on the day. They might have rested blokes or played people out of position to give them a break. They rely heavily on their quality players. Their lack of depth of talent hurts them and is probably what has exposed them in the last three or four weeks.”
Kol said the Hampden league’s evenness mimicked the AFL.
“It’s going to be an exciting finals series. I couldn’t say there’s a standout who is going to get through (in both games) this weekend,” he said.
I have seen 10-goal turnarounds plenty of times in my career.Former South Warrnambool coach Nigel Kol