Shepparton lost to Rochester in this corresponding fixture last year and now 12 months on Brad Campbell’s Bears will be hoping to exact revenge on a side they have not beaten for at least seven years.
Experience may have played a part in the Bears’ semi-final appearance during last season’s campaign, however, Campbell is confident his side is ready to bounce back on Sunday at Euroa’s Memorial Oval.
‘‘It is a new year, we have a few new players and the boys have a bit more experience under their belt,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘We are coming off a big game and a good performance last week, which I think will give the boys a lot more confidence knowing they can match it with the best.’’
The Bears lost by 28 points, albeit after a gallant performance, to the reigning premier Kyabram and if the same intent, effort, and pressure are about Campbell is confident his side can get the job done.
The second-placed Bears were ruthless in the first half on Saturday night, clawing within two points of the Bombers at half-time, before being only one of two teams this season to kick 10 or more goals against the eventual winners.
‘‘I think we have improved our avenue to goal of late, James Wong has kicked plenty, but it showed on Saturday night,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘Wongy didn’t kick a goal yet we still managed to get 10 and I think that holds us in good stead against Rochester, who defends with similar intent.
‘‘In saying that, I wouldn’t mind if Wongy kicked six, but we don’t rely too much on one player.’’
Wong has snagged 61 majors this season, while Luke Smith and John Bradaric are miles behind on 28 and 17 goals respectively.
Campbell is aware of the Tigers’ defensive intent and despite his side finishing higher he believes the Bears cannot take this weekend’s opponents lightly.
‘‘It is a do-or-die game, they play a good brand of football, they are hard at it, they are disciplined and they have been definitely building in the back half of this year,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘They have had the wood over us, but I think now we stack up well and it will be a good indicator as to how far we have come.’’
Matt Shannon, who did not train on Tuesday night, is in doubt after being rushed back from a foot injury last week, while Levi Power is still battling a race against time.
‘‘We’ll see how Matt goes in our last training session and Levi is more likely to not play than play at this stage,’’ Campbell said.
It will be the second time this season the Bears have played at Euroa and they fell two points short of the Magpies at Memorial Oval, while the Tigers face a similar record having lost in round four.