Red-hot Tigers face Magpies on mission

September 01, 2017

Magpies playing coach JD Hayes is motivating his charges to bounce back from last week's lesson from Seymour when they meet Rochester in this weekend's elimination final.

Spring means finals football and on Sunday it will not get any better when Euroa plays Rochester at Benalla.

The two clubs will face off in a highly anticipated elimination final with the Tigers heading into September off the back of four straight wins, while the Magpies will be hoping to bounce back from a sub-par performance.

After a disappointing start to the season, the Tigers have won 11 of their past 13 games and playing coach James Flaherty is pleased with how the year has panned out.

‘‘We have been pretty consistent for a while now, we have had a really good month, but finals present a different ball game,’’ Flaherty said.

During the aforementioned stretch of games, the Tigers lost to only Kyabram and Seymour, while the defensive pressure of the boys out of Moon Oval kept nine clubs to less than 60 points.

In addition, they are yet to concede more than 40 points in their past four games, beating the Magpies and Benalla in the process.

The Tigers’ run of form meant they would also only finish one place and one win behind Sunday’s opponents in fourth.

Magpies playing coach JD Hayes has taken note of the 57-point lesson his side received from Seymour.

‘‘We need to lift if we are going to win, our intensity, our pressure and desire to win was not up to standard and the players know that,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘We have devised a plan for this week and we have spoken a lot this week and we have to go in confident.’’

Perry Oliver, who injured his quad against Echuca, is set to miss again for the Tigers, but Bendigo Pioneers utility Will Hamilton provides an option for Flaherty.

‘‘Oliver is most likely to miss, I do not think he will get up in time, but we do have Will who is back from the Pioneers, so we will see what happens,’’ Flaherty said.

Retiring trio Elliot Bowen, Heath Aitken and Sam Brennan all could bow out this weekend if the outcome does not fall in their favour, but as a result, Flaherty believes his side will have a little more incentive this week.

‘‘The boys will dig in a little deeper knowing it could be the boys’ last game,’’ he said.

Jacob and Max Gleeson will return for the Magpies this week, but they will be without dashing winger Ryley Bjorksten and Kayne Davidson.

‘‘Ryley has a sore shoulder and he is going in for scans on his AC joint and Kayne is out for four weeks,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘He got knocked out last week and was in all sorts, he did not even know where he was.’’

Hayes and Rohan Bail are expected to go head-to-head with Morrison medallist Ash Watson and Steven Stroobants.

‘‘It is going to be a good battle, I think Rochester is led by their midfield and they are pretty strong up forward,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘They had the better of us about a month ago and we take a little bit out of that game, but in saying that I am confident in our boys and their ability.’’

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