All down to tim­ing

LAN­CASTER EYE­ING FIRST TOP SIX SCALP

Shepparton News - - SPORT - By Oliver Caf­frey

Lan­caster play­ing coach Nick Ber­toli is well aware of his team’s sta­tus head­ing into Satur­day’s elim­i­na­tion fi­nal against Stan­hope.

The Wom­bats were the last team to book their fi­nals place and are com­ing off three games against the bottom sides.

While Lan­caster will start as a heavy out­sider in the cut­throat match at Un­dera, Ber­toli said his group was qui­etly con­fi­dent.

‘‘They’re (Stan­hope) a good side and you don’t fin­ish third on the lad­der if you’re not, but we’ll play our footy and give it a red­hot crack,’’ Ber­toli said.

‘‘I think we’ve been play­ing the top footy we’ve been try­ing to play, it doesn’t mat­ter who we play, we just go out there and try to do our thing.’’

Lan­caster is yet to beat an­other team in the top six this sea­son, but its form line is not bad.

The Wom­bats lost against Nagam­bie, Avenel and Stan­hope by an av­er­age of 11 points and should have pinched at least one of those games.

‘‘We know we can match it with the top sides be­cause we’ve had our op­por­tu­ni­ties this year, we’ve been con­sis­tent with our ef­forts and the mes­sage to the play­ers will be our type of footy is good enough,’’ Ber­toli said.

Michael Hill has been fir­ing up for­ward for the Wom­bats with 18 goals in the past two games to take his sea­son tally to 43.

An­drew Pet­ti­grove, Sam Sped­ding, Alex Kydd and Steve Thom­son have been in good touch.

Ber­toli said he ex­pected to go in with a full side af­ter de­mol­ish­ing Rush­worth by 72 points last week.

Stan­hope is fly­ing into Septem­ber af­ter a mem­o­rable 43-point win against Tal­ly­ga­roopna last Satur­day.

Renowned for­ward Jack Ex­ell was moved to de­fence in a mas­ter­stroke from coach Bren­ton Gray, free­ing the lively goal­kicker up af­ter his out­put had been down in the for­ward half.

James Gray kicked six ma­jors in a com­mand­ing dis­play up for­ward.

The Li­ons got the job done when the teams met in an in­cred­i­ble round 13 game, reel­ing in a five-goal deficit mid­way through the last quar­ter. Fill­ing his boots:

Michael Hill (right) has kicked 18 goals in his past two games and will need to con­tinue his pur­ple patch if Lan­caster is to up­set Stan­hope in Satur­day’s elim­i­na­tion fi­nal for its first top six scalp of the year.

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