Sport

Bears still have lot to play for

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August 18, 2017

Shepparton Bears and Shepparton Swans go head-to-head tomorrow in what promises to be a tough contest before finals.

Shepparton and Shepparton Swans meet at Princess Park as the pair look forward to a difficult match before finals.

The Bears might be coming off a split round bye, but will not have rusty skills having continued training during the break.

While a win would officially secure the Swans’ place in September, Shepparton has second position wrapped up and coach Tracey Brereton is content with that knowledge.

‘‘We played Echuca last week and they have to keep winning (to play finals) and (in comparison) people probably look at us and think ‘what have we got to play for?’’’ she said.

‘‘Looking at the ladder we’ve probably stitched up second, but we’ve got a bloody lot to play for and it’s about us making sure we’re at our best, there are a few things we need to work on, so there’s a hell of a lot to play for.

‘‘While it’s nice (to have second spot secured), it doesn’t mean this game isn’t as important for us as it is for the Swans.’’

Shepparton faces Mooroopna next week, while the Swans meet Rochester with both sides having difficult draws this season.

If all results went against Jana Bruinier’s side, it could theoretically drop out of the six, but that remains unlikely.

As last week’s two-goal win against Mooroopna made the Swans more comfortable with their position, Bruinier hoped her side would play with more freedom.

Bruinier said shooter Olivia Mason would need to be at her best when going up against Bears keeper Morgan Gibson, as she hoped her own defenders could put in place what they had focused on.

‘‘Our defence end has not been at their best, but on the weekend they were much better and working as a team, but sometimes when you’re changing structure and strategy it gets worse to get better, but we’ll need good teamwork to overcome Kim Commane,’’ she said.

●In remaining round 17 games, Echuca contests a must-win game against Rochester.

With finals still an outside chance, four points for the Murray Bombers would lift it into the six should Euroa fall to Tatura.

Shepparton United begins favourites in its contest with Mooroopna, despite the Demons only prevailing by four goals in round six.

The Cats will be looking for a greater scoring efficiency than last week against the Shepparton Swans, with the accuracy likely to come with the drop in pressure as finals seem unlikely for Jenni McCluskey’s outfit.

With spots in the six still not set, Benalla will be aiming for a sizeable victory against Mansfield.

Defeating the Eagles at home would go a long way to settling the Saints in fourth position from the Swans.

But while ladder spots from three to six remain up in the air, a win to Kyabram against Seymour would only further display the Bombers’ stranglehold on the competition.

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