Shepparton and Mansfield enter tomorrow’s battle at Deakin Reserve on the back of vastly different showings last week.
The Bears underperformed against Rochester last Saturday, resulting in a 33-point point loss and coach Brad Campbell said there were plenty of lessons to be learned from the match.
‘‘To be honest, it took the wind out of us after the weekend, Rochester was fantastic with their pressure and intent and put us on the back foot early and took us out of control of the game,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to play with more intent early and get ourselves in the game early and get back to playing the way we played earlier in the season, sooner rather than later.’’
The loss against the Tigers was only Shepparton’s second of the season, but the Bears were unable to control the ball through the midfield, leaving too much pressure on its defence.
Campbell said the ninth-placed Eagles were a danger side.
‘‘I’ve always rated Mansfield pretty highly, they’re always tough to play against and they play quite well at Deakin as well,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘In the past three or four weeks they’ve been really good and really competitive... I’m surprised they’re not higher on the ladder than what they are.’’
After a string of three close losses, the Eagles finally broke through with a win against Shepparton Swans last week, with Cameron Hotton hoping the side continued to enjoy the winning feeling.
‘‘We’ve come off a win ourselves and we’ll try and use that as motivation and carry on that success, leading up we’ve been playing good footy and taking it to the top sides, so we’ll try and continue to take them on,’’ he said.
Hotton is buoyed by Nick Gray’s availability, with the Collingwood VFL player returning to Mansfield while the Magpies have a bye.
In contrast, the Bears lose Harry Boyd back to Werribee, but Campbell said the former Murray Bushranger would make at least another appearance before finals.
After a scintillating debut, former Carlton player Bret Thornton will miss this week, with Jack Egan back from the reserves.
Mitch Wareham is sidelined with an ankle injury.