Hawks plot to tame Tigers
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.