Sport

Finals hopes to sink or swim

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June 01, 2018

Euroa coach JD Hayes wants to see an improved showing from his side against Rochester tomorrow.

In an intriguing eight-point game, Euroa will host Rochester in a massive Memorial Oval match-up tomorrow.

With sixth on the Goulburn Valley League ladder battling seventh, the game has a load of finals implications attached and Rochester coach James Flaherty acknowledged it was a huge occasion.

‘‘Whenever you’re playing a team around the same mark as you, you have to make it count and coming off a loss, we’re keen to bounce back,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s always a big test over there, especially in the last few years. We’re well aware they’re going all right at the moment and on their day can beat anyone, so the challenge is ours.

‘‘They’ve got key targets that can take a a few grabs forward and back, but their midfield is damaging when it is up and going.’’

The Tigers battled well with Kyabram for three quarters last Sunday, but were ultimately overpowered, conceding the only eight goals of the last term.

Flaherty put that down to the Bombers’ brilliance more than anything.

‘‘We were pretty happy with how we played for three quarters, but to let them roll how they did in the last term was really disappointing,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that was them being the side they are. We matched it with them for most of quarters and then fell away, probably through the physical way they play.’’

Rochester has defied pre-season expectations of a drop-off to sit 4-3 heading into round eight and would announce itself as the real deal should it beat the Magpies.

Euroa coach JD Hayes pointed to a pair of key Tigers as crucial to determine his side’s fate.

‘‘Steven Stroobants and James Gledhill — I played with them both at interleague and they’re great players,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got massive respect for them across the board, they’re always hard to beat and have been a powerhouse for years.’’

Hayes said last week’s disappointing final term, where his side coughed up a 25-point lead, had not earned them a rough week on the training track.

‘‘I don’t think flogging them was the answer given we were a bit undermanned,’’ he said.

‘‘But we’ve been through it and they’ve got a clear understanding of how we need to defend a lead late in games.’’

Inclusions for Euroa include gun pair Jacob and Jayden Gleeson, while electric youngster Robbie Paradzayi will make his senior debut.

But on the negative side, Will McFarlane has torn his anterior cruciate ligament, while Jack Tate will miss with a hamstring.

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