Two Sharks will travel in opposite directions across the Bass Strait ahead of Hillwood’s do-or-die semi-final against Scottsdale.
Damon Howe will be en route to Taiwan when the Sharks look to take their season into the penultimate weekend, but experienced midfielder Adam Humzy will return from his native South Australia in time to play.
Coach Nathan Lowe admitted the Magpies had a fearsome forward arsenal but said his side was learning from its second successive finals appearance.
Helping the Sharks’ cause is Jye Balym’s speedy recovery from a groin injury, with the ruckman looming crucial against in-form Scottsdale star Daniel Roozendaal.
“Roozendaal is a big (factor) but I don’t think any side’s got the answer to be able to match him,” Lowe said.
“Scottsdale’s forward line needs to be kept under control, they can get away from you.
“The belief in Scottsdale is there that they can go all the way and that’s what we’ve got to strive to do - we’ve got to get that belief as well.”
The Sharks have lost three on the trot but Magpies coach Geoff Mohr remembers an after-the-siren round 8 loss all too well.
“(Andrew) Whitmore’s obviously their key focal point up forward … and Jake King kicked six goals against us earlier in the year so he’s another one we’ll have to shut down,” Mohr said.
“They’re probably their two main ones, but they also play quite a small forward line as well so that’s something we have to be wary of.”
The Magpies have won eight of their past nine after a slow start and will need to extend that record to 11 from 12 to win the flag.
One loss will end their season, but Mohr said his side was motivated – not intimidated - by the pressure.
“You have a look at the halfway mark of the year, pretty much since then every game’s been must win and we’ve been able to stand up when we needed to.
“Having our back against the wall seems to bring out the best in the team.”
SOUTH LAUNCESTON has recalled Tom Reinmuth at the expense of Rory Mansell for its second semi-final against Bracknell.
Joel Mountney (broken thumb) should return for the reigning premiers’ next game to clear up the Bulldogs’ injury list, and coach Leigh Harding hopes that game won’t be until the grand final.
Harding has won his past five encounters with the Redlegs, and is consequently planning for some curveballs from opposite number Gary Shipton.
“We’re expecting them to bring out a few surprises and try to change things up a little bit,” Harding said.
“I watched them last week and they came out really strong.
“Jake Cox always plays well against us, (Corry) Goodluck and (Glenn) Dawson up forward and (Joe) Chilcott in around the midfield … they’re a dangerous outfit and we won’t treat anyone different from their first picked to their 22nd picked.”
While the Dogs are renowned for their outside run, the Redlegs are famous for their in-tight play.
Shipton wouldn’t be drawn on whether the smaller surface of Invermay Park would suit his side, but said his side would give its all for 100-gamer Trent Page.
“He’s a hardworking player with a never-say-die attitude, so every time he’s around the contest he’s always going to be trying to draw it or win it,” Shipton said.
“He’s a fantastic leader around the club and he plays good hard footy.”