LONG-TIME Warrnambool Seahawk Tim Gainey says an away double-header will play a crucial role in their Big V playoff chances.
The Seahawks are 7-8 and sixth on the ladder with seven games remaining.
They play Southern Peninsula and Bulleen - two teams below them on the table - this weekend.
"We do this to ourselves every year - we get into that iffy spot where it can go north or south," Gainey said.
"They are definitely two winnable games on the weekend. It just depends on how we start the game and how switched on we are. We control our destiny."
Gainey, who has shrugged off injury concerns and is starting to hit form, said emerging teenager Nathan Hardingham would miss the two games with illness.
The former coach said Hardingham, from Portland, had impressed in his debut season. "I was trying to get him to play four or five years ago," he said.
Gainey said Ollie Bidmade had also elevated his game to the next level.
"I think he has matured a lot this year and taken on a leadership role," he said.
The likes of Josh Dyson, Ash Keen, Wil Rantall and Finn Hayes are teenagers honing their skills at training.
"They've been coming every week and busting their tails so there is a bit of talent coming through which is good," Gainey said.
The Mermaids (7-5) will hit the road against Camberwell Dragons on Saturday afternoon.
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