Hawks plot to tame Tigers

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Sport - Justin Fris

Au­gusta-Mar­garet River coach Matt Jamieson feels his side are up to the chal­lenge of con­quer­ing South Bun­bury at Hands Oval.

The Hawks, who en­ter Sun­day’s cut­throat elim­i­na­tion fi­nal hav­ing won six of their past seven games, have sur­vived two thrilling en­coun­ters dur­ing the past three weeks.

But rather than fo­cus on the Tigers’ of­fen­sive weapons, Jamieson is con­tent to con­cen­trate on what his side can do well.

“I prob­a­bly don’t tend to go too heavy on who we have to lock down,” he said.

“We try to con­trol our main strengths and get­ting the ball in their hands, along with how we are go­ing to move the ball and put de­fen­sive pres­sure on South Bun­bury.”

Both clashes be­tween the two dur­ing the sea­son were thrillers, with the Tigers pip­ping the Hawks by a point at Glouces­ter Park in round 3, while the Hawks got re­venge by five points in round 12 at Hands Oval.

But with fi­nals renowned for buck­ing sea­sonal trends, no out­come should be ruled out on Sun- day. Jamieson feels his side have made im­prove­ments since last sea­son de­spite their fifth-placed fin­ish, with the Hawks’ play­ing group driven to trek deep into the fi­nals.

“I think in­ter­nally as a coach, you want to be play­ing in fi­nals and giv­ing guys ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“We’ve got a fair few young guys be­tween 17 and 25 years of age — a lot of guys in that bracket — so the more fi­nals footy we can play, the bet­ter for them.

“I’ve al­ways been one to strive to be in fi­nals every time I’ve been in­volved in footy and I’m look­ing for­ward to it.”

In con­trast, the Tigers have won four of their past five matches and have also been in ex­cel­lent form dur­ing the past month.

Aside from Leigh Kohlmann’s vice-like grip mark­ing every kick that has come his way in the for­ward line, Matt Gi­acci and Rocco Ver­sace have been lead­ing by ex­am­ple in the cor­ri­dor.

Tigers coach David Obal said he was con­fi­dent his side would be close to full-strength de­spite a few play­ers hav­ing bat­tled mi­nor ill­ness over the past week, and said the Tigers would need to play at their best to de­feat the Hawks.

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