A MUCH improved Warrack Eagles side is riding high on confidence and will prove a difficult task for the Horsham Demons on Saturday.
Two very different sides played off in last season’s elimination final when the Demons won by 103-points at Murtoa. After six rounds the sides have each only lost to Miniyip-Murtoa this season. Horsham’s loss was last round whereas Warrack blew a lead in round two.
Demons coach Louie Dalziel said he was not surprised by how the Eagles had bounced back this season.
“Warrack is a proud club,” he said. “Like many clubs in farming communities they will have their ups and downs but they often have a good mix of players coming in to the team as well as young players coming through.”
A young Josh Bibby proves his point. The 15-year-old is the league’s leading goalkicker and has benefited from having Jesse Murphy, Shannon Argall and Scott Adams demand the attention of the opposition’s best defenders.
Dalziel said he is still focused on his team more than the opposition. “You hear about players here and there but we still need to focus on ourselves,” he said. “As the season goes on we will look to adjust depending on our opposition more.”
The Demons will likely make changes to the side that lost to ahead of the bye. Dalziel said Dawson Cross and Jack Mentha are both sore and are a good chance to be rested. “Darcy Taylor, Garret Liston and Will Deayton are all pushing for selection,” he said. “We want to keep giving reserves players opportunities to prove themselves in the seniors side.”
Contested possession will go a long way to winning the game and Dalziel expects Eagles coach Ryan McKenzie will be influential on the field. “He knows how to go in and win the ball but can also hurt you on the scoreboard when forward,” he said.
McKenzie said the bye had come at a good time for his side. “We had a few sore bodies after the Stawell game,” he said.
“Everyone has been playing with a bit more confidence and it showed against Stawell a couple of weeks ago.”
The side’s confidence has grown each round as the younger players start to feel more comfortable at senior level.
McKenzie said he thought stopping the outside run of Horsham’s quick and in-form midfielders, such as Deek Roberts, would be crucial.
“Then when we have the ball we need to lower the eyes when we deliver into the forward line,” he said.
“I rate Rhona Conboy as the best defender in the league and we have to be smart to not bomb it into his area. Whoever he is playing on might have to play a fairly selfless game and lead into spots where they know they might not get used.”