WARRNAMBOOL coach Ben Parkinson says the Blues will look to fine-tune aspects of their game in the remaining three rounds after all but securing a finals berth.
The Blues held on for an important 11.18 (84) to 9.19 (73) win against Hampden league challenger Cobden at Reid Oval on Saturday.
It puts the fifth-placed Blues in an enviable position.
"It is another win and it probably locks away the finals for us. We are three wins ahead of Cobden and Hamilton and they play each other next week," Parkinson said.
"We had a disappointing year last year when we were outside the five and to be back in finals is where we want to be."
The Blues, who welcomed back influential players Sam Cowling, Damien McCorkell and Luke Cody from injury, burst out of the blocks against the Bombers but rued missed opportunities kicking with the breeze.
"We kicked 2.11 in the first and a lot were very gettable too so we probably wasted our opportunities," Parkinson said.
"If we had have kicked half of them and been 40 points up, it's a different mindset for Cobden to come out in the second quarter compared to only being two goals down."
The Bombers clawed their way back from 37 points down at three-quarter-time but also rued chances to convert.
"They missed a lot of shots and kicked 4.10 in the last," Parkinson said. "I think we did a lot right but we probably went into our shells a little bit in the last quarter when they were coming."
Cobden coach Dan Casey said the bookend quarters told the tale.
"They could've blown us away in the first quarter," he said.
"It's a young group and there's a lot of experience in that Warrnambool side and to be within a kick-and-a-bit in the last minute and come back from 37 points down means I am proud.
"Henry Robertson did a great job down there for a young kid - he kicked three (for the game) - and in the last quarter Christian Koroneos was moved from back to forward and he had four shots. We had our chances to steal that one."
Both coaches praised Cobden leader Paul Pekin who was damaging in both the midfield and forward.
"I thought Pekin was outstanding for them and probably kept them in it for the first half," Parkinson said.
"He's a match-winner. We put Mitch (Bidmade) to him (in the midfield) after half-time and Bully (Brad Bull) when he went forward. He is just so clean and tough."
Casey, who lost key forward Jack Hutt to a shin injury early, said Pekin relished important moments in games.
"The best thing about Paul is when the game needs to be won and you need someone to step up he does it," he said.
"His game today was the best I have seen. He's shown patches but today he bobbed up and kicked two goals and had well over 30 touches."
Parkinson said Jason Rowan hitting the scoreboard for Warrnambool was a by-product of their ball movement.,
"I don't think we dump (kicked) at all today and Rowy has kicked 5.3," he said.
"If we are moving and using the ball better, he gets one-on-ones.
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