SWIFTS have been the surprise packet of the past two Horsham District Football League finals campaigns and are still something of an enigma this year.
Having fallen at the penultimate hurdle in 2011 and 2012, the Baggies will start their 2013 finals
tilt against Harrow-Balmoral on Sunday and will hope to go one better.
The team has not finished higher than fourth on the ladder in the past three home and away seasons but always finds a way to make noise at the right time of the year.
It lost its first three matches this year but has rebounded strongly since then.
Meanwhile, Harrow-Balmoral has surprised many pundits after snatching fifth place in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the club.
A win against the Baggies at home only three weeks ago will improve the team’s confidence and it comes in without the burden of expectation on its shoulders.
For the Roos, there is a clean slate.
For Swifts, there are no second chances.
Baggies co-coach Paul Hanns said his team was confident despite having to contend with the longest road trip in the District league.
“We’re a bit disappointed we didn’t finish in the top three this year but we should be better for the experience we’ve had in the past two seasons,” he said.
“We still realise that we’ve got to get through one week at a time.”
Hanns said his charges were not distracted by their recent loss to Harrow-Balmoral and backed them to come mentally prepared.
“Hopefully this time we come ready to play – rain, hail or shine,” he said.
The Baggies will bring in Tim Lillis for the cut-throat clash, while key forwards Lachie Hamilton and Jeremy Joiner will be given a chance to prove their fitness.
VFL-listed player Tom Ruggles will also be important for Swifts.
Harrow-Balmoral will name some big inclusions of its own, with forward Brent Penny and utility Ryan McClure set to return.
Coach Brent Forsyth said there was a positive vibe at the club ahead of its unexpected finals engagement.
“The response of the boys has been really good during the week,” he said.
“There are no expectations from anyone that we’re going to do anything but make up the numbers to be honest, so the pressure is on the four sides above us.
“We’re in a bonus situation that we didn’t expect to be in at the start of the year but they have a lot more to lose.”