Shepparton Swans need to enter each match with a must-win attitude to tackle a difficult path ahead to round out the season, beginning with Benalla tomorrow.
Fellow finals aspirants Echuca and Mooroopna are to follow before Shepparton and Rochester round out their lead in to September.
The Swans have been solid in patches, but last week’s loss to Euroa had coach Jana Bruinier clear about aspects she had to address.
But with a demanding final five rounds, she hoped the testing games would pay dividends in finals.
‘‘We’re focusing on the positives of that and want to win enough to put us in the finals, with a tough run home we’ll be in a good position after playing tough netball to be ready for finals,’’ Bruinier said.
But tomorrow’s game is about releasing expectations, after Euroa achieved an upset win against the Swans last week.
‘‘I felt like we placed a lot of pressure on us against Euroa and it didn’t work in our favour, it’s a real trap to look forward too far,’’ Bruinier said.
‘‘We’re trying to be more present in the moment and we’re not going to worry about quarter-time or the end of the game and that’s worked for us (in the past).’’
Midcourt star Nat Simpson was brilliant when the Swans and the Saints played out a draw in round three and Bruinier said the 2005 Wellman Family medallist has not lost any pace or athleticism.
‘‘Nat is in career best form, which is saying something considering she’s a Wellman medallist, but I’ve never played or coached with her playing any better than her current form,’’ she said.
‘‘She’s got such flair and she’s agile and fast and coming with that sometimes is a little bit of error in turnover balls, but she’s brought a bit more structure to her game and slowing down and thinking it through and her error rate has decreased.’’
Benalla coach Dylan Nexhip said a midcourt that included Bruinier, Simpson and Kate Jeffery was always difficult to contend against.
But Grace Rodger and Grace Warnock have the skills to adapt to whichever combination Bruinier chooses each quarter.
Nexhip was emphatic about his desire to qualify for finals in third spot, beginning with the scalp of the Swans.
‘‘That is exactly where we’d like to finish,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a completely different stage of the season (since playing the Swans), last time was round three now we’re up to round 14 and each game is critical in terms of where you’re going to finish on the ladder.’’