THE Warrack Eagles will travel to Coughlin Park to take on the Horsham Saints in what shapes as the best match of round four.
The Eagles came away victorious in two of the first three rounds and showed glimpses of their potential in a second round loss to Minyip-Murtoa.
Prior to the season Eagles coach Ryan McKenzie set a goal for his side to notch up at least one win against a side that finished above them last season. Despite patches of strong form and an early lead at home, his side came up short against the Burras in its first chance to tick off the goal. Saturday is the side’s second chance to do so.
Wavering early season form for the Saints means it is as good a chance as any.
Prior to the break the defending premiers were no match for Minyip-Murtoa on the road.
The side’s only win of the season came against a struggling Dimboola in round two.
Saints coach Luke Fisher said people might not realise just how young his team is after some off-season turnover at the club. “It might not be showing on the scoreboard at the moment but from within the group I can see improvement,” he said.
“I just want the team to continue gelling together each week. We have had good individual performances and sections to our game but we need it to all come together.”
The loss of Brayden Helylar to injury will further stretch a small Saints backline that will be tested by tall Warrack forwards.
With twin targets Jesse Murphy and Shannon Argall adding direction to Warrack’s attack this season young forward Josh Bibby has benefited from flying under the radar.
The 16-year-old has flourished and kicked truly on 14 occasions in the first three rounds as a dangerous medium forward with sure hands.
“It is going to take another big effort from out back six,” Fisher said.
“Our defenders are going to have to come up against bigger opponents each week, it will be an ongoing issue we need to find an answer for.
“They have probably been our most consistent unit so far but will need to work together well again against taller opponents.”
The onus will also be on the Saints midfield to apply pressure at the point of delivery.
The conditions overhead and on a heavy Coughlin Park will factor into how the game plays out.
The ball will spend a lot of the time on the deck favouring the smaller home side but Fishers approach of running and carrying the ball will be tested.
“We will still be able to run and carry but we need to make sure we don’t overuse the ball,” he said.
“It will be another game of hard contested football in difficult conditions.”