Mid­field the key fo­cus


WOODVILLE-West Tor­rens coach Michael God­den has em­phat­i­cally backed his mid­field to get the job done against its high-qual­ity Sturt coun­ter­part in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at Ade­laide Oval to­day.

God­den said his mid­field, led by gun Jared Pe­trenko, was not as bul­lock­ing as the Dou­ble Blues’ at the stop­pages, but no less po­tent.

Pe­trenko will have back­ing from James Boyd and vet­eran Scott Lewis on the ball in the im­pos­ing chal­lenge against James Bat­tersby, Ai­dan Ri­ley and Zane Kirk­wood.

The Dou­ble Blues also have the tal­ents of Patrick Wil­son to throw into the en­gine room, while God­den can use Sam Row­land and Jake Jo­hansen.

“At this time of the year you rely on your good play­ers and I ab­so­lutely back my blokes to get the job done,” God­den said.

“We are a dif­fer­ent-shaped mid­field to them, but no less po­tent. I’d ex­pect they would have to put work into some of our bet­ter play­ers, as we will to them.”

Bat­tersby has taken his game to an­other level this sea­son, ac­cord­ing to Dou­ble Blues coach Marty Mat­tner, while Kirk­wood is a dual Magarey Medal­list and Ri­ley a tough nut. They feed off ex­pe­ri­enced ruck­man Jack Os­born.

Pe­trenko is the ace in God­den’s mid­field pack, al­though he was down in the loss to Port Ade­laide in the sec­ond semi­fi­nal last week­end.

God­den is in no doubt there will be an over­whelm­ing re­sponse from Pe­trenko and the Ea­gles af­ter the lack­lus­tre ef­fort against Port.

“Pup (Pe­trenko) did not get the num­bers we would have liked last week, but he was feel­ing a mil­lion dol­lars this week and trained the best I have seen from him for a long time,” God­den said. “I’m ex­pect­ing a typ­i­cal Jared Pe­trenko per­for­mance.

“And I have no doubt there will be a re­sponse (from the team) to last week, there is not even a hes­i­ta­tion when I think about the per­for­mance they will put out there.

“We’ve had some down days dur­ing the year, as ev­ery­one does, and last week was be­low what we ex­pect.

“One thing I know - the com­pet­i­tive­ness will be right up. I trust them, I’ve got a core group of blokes I’ve trusted for years.”

God­den men­tioned Gee­long coach Chris Scott’s words af­ter the Cats smashed Syd­ney in the AFL on Friday night and how he had not had to rant and rave in the week fol­low­ing the Cats’ poor ef­fort against Rich­mond be­cause he knew the play­ers would re­spond.

“It doesn’t give you the right to win, but what it does give you is, you know you are go­ing to get an ef­fort,” God­den said.

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