Shepparton coach Brad Campbell hopes his side has learned an important lesson in recent weeks.
After the Bears pushed powerhouse Kyabram to within 16 points in round 13, Campbell said his troops made the mistake of looking too far ahead, in the process losing their immediate focus and contributing in some part to their loss against Euroa the week after.
‘‘Naturally at this time of the year everyone starts to discuss maybes and scenarios, and we probably got into that trap a bit after Ky and lost a bit of focus against Euroa,’’ he said.
‘‘Coming back to the pack and being in a dangerous position sort of sparked the boys back into action.’’
A resounding 68-point victory against Benalla followed, and Campbell was pleased with the reaction from his playing group.
‘‘It was a really good learning curve for the group from the week before, our mindset wasn’t where it needed to be,’’ he said.
‘‘But we did the basics better, everything flowed better and we had more chemistry and teamwork which made everyone’s job easier.
‘‘We have to keep our destiny in our own hands by playing good footy and the rest will take care of itself.’’
Echuca has been disappointing since defeating the Magpies in round 12, losing to Benalla, Mooroopna and the Shepparton Swans, but the Bears will not be underestimating their opponent.
‘‘Echuca are a very dangerous side, they have some really good key players,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘We’re definitely wary, and we’ve obviously got to keep winning to secure a spot in the top three.’’
Shepparton co-captain Ted Lindon’s troublesome calf is improving by the day, while Levi Power (rolled ankle) should also be able to take his place on the field across half-back tomorrow.
However, the Bears will lose last week’s hero Matt Brett to Werribee VFL duties.
For the Murray Bombers, tomorrow’s game is all about restoring respect.
‘‘We’re coming over to the home of Goulburn Valley footy and earning respect is our focus,’’ coach Andrew Briggs said.
‘‘The players are extremely disappointed with the past two weeks and they want to be able to rectify that, so they’re on a mission to get some respect back.’’
Briggs has asked his group to dig deep, with Tyler Phillips (suspected broken leg), last week’s debutant Jonte Opie (concussion) and Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers) joining the long list of Echuca players unavailable.
‘‘The message from me has been to stand up and show some grit, determination and perseverance,’’ he said.