WARRNAMBOOL recruit Alex Shipard says the Blues' cohesive defence is prepared for Koroit's abundance of forward options.
The reliable backman, who has played 17 of a possible 18 games in his Hampden league debut season, is backing his defensive stablemates in the qualifying final at Hamilton's Melville Oval on Saturday.
Shipard, 24, said coach Matt O'Brien had confidence in them to do the job.
"The good thing about our back line is it's versatile," he said.
"There is no doubt we can swap throughout the day and find the best match-ups for our back line.
"Matt gives us free reign and now I feel comfortable within in the back line."
The Blues, who finished third, averaged a respectable 62 points against per game.
Shipard said Warrnambool's defence "takes it personally when an easy goal is kicked".
The two-time North Bendigo premiership player said he'd enjoyed the step up from the Heathcote and District league this season.
He's matched up on some of the Hampden league's most explosive forwards.
"Jarrod Korewha is a good athlete and has a good vertical leap, so he is pretty tough," Shipard said.
"But there are three or four from Koroit and the same at North Warrnambool, the Wines brothers (Adam and Matt) are good players and Shannon Beks (at South) is a good athlete."
Shipard expects to spend time on Korewha on Saturday.
Korewha sits second on the league goal-kicking table with 50 majors - 52 behind Warrnambool's Darren Ewing, who reached the ton in the final home-and-away round.
Shipard joins teenagers Lachie Dwyer and Angus Lowe as the Blues' finals debutants.
He had a season off before joining Warrnambool in 2019 and is "loving it" and is committed to a second season in navy blue.
"I wouldn't play anywhere else now," Shipard said.
Both coaches - O'Brien and Koroit's Chris McLaren - are preparing for varying ground conditions over the first two weeks of the finals series.
Melville Oval is on the smaller scale and D.C Farran Oval (second semi-final) and Leura Oval (first semi-final) are large.
"We don't mind playing at a smaller ground, it doesn't hamper us at all," O'Brien said.
McLaren said the Saints had planned around the differences.
"We've played well at Hamilton over the years," he said. "It's a quick track. The league has done a good job letting us know nice and early (there would be a final there.
"It's a unique size and shape and different to ours but we've done stuff around it."
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