The first round of local football finals kicks off this weekend with second-placed Drysdale taking on third-placed Barwon Heads in the BNFL qualifying final at Portarlington.
Drysdale lost both of this season’s clashes with Barwon Heads by sizable margins – 30 points in round 1 and 54 in round 14 – but finished the home-and-away series in second place on the ladder, one game clear of the Seagulls.
Coach Ben Carmichael is rejected suggestions his side will go into tomorrow’s game as the underdog.
“They probably had the wood over us this year but since the last time we played them, we’re playing more consistant footy,” he said.
“We feel like we’re hitting some form heading into the finals.”
His point is solid – the Hawks go into Saturday’s game off a four-game winning streak, including a one-point victory over ladder leader Torquay a fortnight ago.
“We’ve changed a few things structurally, you tinker with your game plan a little bit, but the consistency with our playing list is probably the key to that,” Carmichael said.
“We’ve certainly had some good battles with Barwon Heads this year where they’ve probably got on top, so we know we need to play our best footy to get a result this weekend.”
When asked if there were any Seagulls players that would require close checking, the Drysdale coach was non-commital.
“They’re so consistent, and they have so many good players, if you put too much time into one area you’re probably going to fall out in another area.
“They’re just so well balanced with some really good inside players and some outside class, and they’ve got guys that can kick goals.
“We’ll just have to try to limit their scoring, we certainly can’t focus on one thing. Our pressure up the ground is a key pillar to the way we play so we’re going to have to bring that and make sure that we’re efficient going the other way.”
Carmichael said the return of Michael Case after a concussion would force a change in what has proven to be an effective line-up over the latter part of the season.
He said the club and players were looking forward to what was likely to be a challenging game.
“We’ve had a good year up to date, but all that does is allow us to qualify for finals. The real stuff starts now.”
On Sunday Modewarre is up against Anglesea in the cut-throat elimination final.