Bridgenorth’s recent spell of form proves they are more than capable of upsetting flag aspirants Bracknell, says coach Patrick Mackrell.
The Parrots have been in stellar form after the bye but sit 28 points behind the Redlegs, who would go level on points with South Launceston should they record a win at home.
Mackrell, who was expecting to name an unchanged side for the sixth-versus-second clash, said the Parrots held plenty of respect for the Redlegs but were also confident they could match it with the league’s best sides.
“Bracknell are one of the standout teams in the competition but last game we came up against them we only lost by a point, and we feel if we keep a solid four-quarter effort we’re more than capable of matching their intensity,” Mackrell said.
“We’re starting to get a bit of momentum, we’ve won four of the last five games now so we feel that this week is a very winnable game for us if we come in switched on.”
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SCOTTSDALE has all but locked in third spot and will likely name an unchanged lineup for their 6pm clash at Rocherlea.
The Magpies won by a point when the two sides met in round 8 and coach Geoff Mohr said his side was expecting a similarly fierce contest at the weekend.
“I think they’ve lost seven of their last 11 so they’re not in the best form, but they’re obviously the reigning premiers so you’ve got to show them some respect,” Mohr said.
“We’re sitting in third at the moment and we’re playing sides we’re going to be playing in the finals series so you’ve got to try and put your best foot forward and keep trying to win games.”
The Suburban Tigers could still chase down Hillwood to claim fourth place but will likely need to win their next two matches to do so.
Jarrod Frankcombe and Mitch Norquay will return for HILLWOOD’s trip to Deloraine, while injured captain Jake King will spend a week on the sidelines.
The fourth-placed Sharks could also use the clash to blood some new players as coach Jake Lowe looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since round 9.
Lowe said his side had banded together after losing three games in a row.
“The last couple of weeks when we’ve been losing we’ve gone into our shells a little bit,” Lowe said.
“We want to continue to take our games on and move the footy fast which is when we play our best footy.”
LONGFORD could jump above Bridgenorth with a home win over bottom-placed George Town.
The Country Tigers won two from three before the bye last week and will fancy their chances against a side who haven’t won since round 5.
George Town have the bye next week but could move ahead of Deloraine with a win in their last match for 2017.
SOUTH LAUNCESTON has the bye.
An in-form Perth side is the only thing standing in the way of Evandale’s late run for the minor premiership.
The Magpies have won three games on the trot to book a spot in finals and will make one change for the home clash against the new ladder-leaders.
Country Eagles coach Anthony Axton said that with a top-two spot secured his side would try and find a balance between maintaining momentum and resting sore players.
“We could possibly meet Perth in the finals series so it’s a game we’re looking to play well in,” Axton said.
“We want to make sure that we’re fresh and firing for the first round of finals but that being said we don’t want to flirt with our form either, we want to continue the way we’ve been playing in the last three or four weeks.”
TAMAR CATS will look to string together consecutive wins for the first time since the start of the season when they host Meander Valley.
Fresh from a thrilling five-point win against Uni-Mowbray, the Cats will regain Jono Wells and Nathan Croft for their final game of the season.
“It was good to get a win (last week), we scraped in together and it was good to be back on the winners list,” coach Brennan Cresswell said.
“We’ll aim to go back-to-back and end the year on a high.”
OLD SCOTCH may have lost their past two matches but Bridport coach Brett Laskey expects his side will be in for a tough contest when the two teams meet at the NTCA Ground.
“They’re the benchmark of the comp and it’ll be a really tough day for us but we’re willing to have a crack in our last game,” Laskey said.
“We’ve won five for the year which is probably better than we expected to do.”
ST PATS will prepare for finals with a clash against bottom-placed Prospect.
Sitting a game and considerable percentage behind Lilydale and East Coast, the Saints could make changes to the side that lost to Evandale last week, with several players to undergo fitness tests on Thursday night.
Building form and confidence before finals is the key for Saints coach Alex Russell.
“(Prospect) will obviously want to finish the year well, as you always do in the last round, but we’ll certainly be going out and looking to win,” Russell said.
Percentage points could be crucial when fourth-placed EAST COAST host Uni-Mowbray.
The Swans sit nine percentage points behind third-placed Lilydale after recording big wins over the past three weeks.
Uni-Mowbray have recorded two wins for the season and sit one game ahead of Prospect.
OLD LAUNCESTONIANS will play their final game of the season at home against Lilydale, who need to win to secure third place.