Ararat v Stawell

Former Brisbane Lions footballer Matt Austin, left, will bolster the Stawell Warriors at the weekend. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Former Brisbane Lions footballer Matt Austin, left, will bolster the Stawell Warriors at the weekend. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Ground: Alexandra Oval, Ararat, Sunday, 2.20pm.

Last time they met: Round 2, 2014. Ararat 18.13 (121) d Stawell 11.5 (71).

STAWELL Warriors coach Brad Cassidy wants his charges to forget about the club's traditional rivalry with Ararat and focus on atoning for their disappointing performance against Minyip-Murtoa a fortnight ago.

Cassidy said the Warriors had been working on rectifying low-points from the 83-point loss and would focus on putting in a competitive, four-quarter effort against the Rats.

"It's an important game for both clubs," he said.

"They'll want to continue their winning form, while we want to get back to winning form."

The Warriors will be boosted by the inclusion of ex-Brisbane Lions and North Ballarat footballer Matt Austin.

"Matt's coming back from an injury, but since the Roosters don't have a reserves team the players can nominate a home club to play at when they're not picked," he said.

"We're very fortunate Matt's chosen to give back to the Stawell Football Club and the players are really excited about it."

Cassidy said David Morris was unavailable, while Brenton Potter and Jesse Eckel would be up for selection if they got through last night's training.

Ararat coach David Hosking said ladder position counted for little when the sides met.

"It's always a good match-up with Stawell," he said.

"We think they're better than the record shows.

"They were pretty good against us last time, even though that might not have been reflected in the final score."

The Rats defeated the Warriors by 50 points at Central Park in round two, but the Warriors outplayed the visitors in the first half.

Hosking said Sunday's four points were important.

"Stawell's got some good players, but I know if we play our best we can win," he said.

"We had a good start to the season but we've dropped a few games, so we're keen to get some more wins on the board and pick up that momentum," he said.

Hosking hopes Jake Williamson and Stephen Phillips will return from injury in time for the clash.

"We might also have Xave Vearing back from the Rebels as well," he said.

Hosking said Dan Mendes and Beau Cosson were in stellar form, but said he was looking for players such as Liam Cavanagh and Harry and Jack Ganley to return to their top form.

The Rats will need to be wary of Stawell's talented young midfield brigade, led by Tom Eckel, Cam Kimber and Toby Reid, while the Warriors will need to to work hard to nullify the Rats' run-and-carry game, particularly on the wide expanses of Alexandra Oval.

Cassidy said his charges would work on performing better under pressure.

"One we get the ball we need to use it," he said.

"If you're going to throw it away as soon as you get it, there's no point getting it in the first place.

"We also need to turn up ready to play - regardless of the conditions. It doesn't matter if it's cold, wet, hailing, we've got to turn up."


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