The Deni Rams are readying themselves for a tough battle against Murray League rival Finley tomorrow.
The Rams are effectively out of finals contention (four games outside of top six), and Finley can’t make finals, however both are keen to post some wins in the back half of the season.
Prior to last week’s bye, the Rams showed how much they’ve improved since the start of the season, coming within eight points of Nathalia, who were on top of the ladder before the close encounter.
Deni have form on their side, knocking off top six team Mulwala recently, and while only posting four wins for the year, look primed for more wins before the season’s end.
The Cats have struggled this year and are still winless.
But Rams coach Gary Parsons refuses to see their rival side as an easy to beat team.
‘‘We can’t treat this game as if it’s already won as we know Finley will see this as one of their best chances for a win,’’ he said.
‘‘It doesn’t matter where either side is on the ladder, these contests are always tough and are generally close.
‘‘When a side is down like Finley are, which we’ve been down ourselves might I add, you need to get on top of them early to sap the confidence.
‘‘They have a good following as well so we’ll need to make the home crowd a non-factor by getting on top early.’’
The Rams and Cats will both be freshened up following the general bye, which Parsons said came at the right time for his side.
‘‘I think our younger boys were keen for a break after the games against Mulwala and Nathalia,’’ he said.
‘‘The rest has done the world of good for them and hopefully we can keep the momentum going that we had before the bye.
‘‘We’ve got a bit of belief at the club right now and it’s been reflecting on the field.
‘‘Our back line has been our biggest strength all year.
‘‘We’ve been crumbing the packs well down back and our ball control has improved immensely.
‘‘Jack Bradford showed his capability up forward in the second half last game and if we can get Matt MacDonald and Ben Irwin gathering the ball a lot more then we’ll be in a tremendous position.
‘‘The players are starting to jell together so we need to ensure we get these wins to bring more confidence into the next season.’’
The Rams will get their first look at Finley forward Tim Meulendyks, who can play in all areas of the ground.
Meulendyks will team up with Lachy Small and Shaun Kable in the middle to come up against an in-form midfield grouping of Rick Gittens, Irwin, Todd Gallagher and Oliver Draffin.
Jayden Pitts will be a key target up forward for Deni and will most likely do battle with Cameron Robertson, while Rams ruckman Chris O’Connor will face-off with Will Robertson.
Selection: Deni Rams by 10 goals.
~ Jamie Lowe