Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Finals battle

- By LAURA GREEN

The Deniliquin Rams and Moama Magpies will clash in the high stakes, penultimat­e round of the Murray Football League home and away season tomorrow.

After the state-wide Victorian lockdown last week caused the MFNL to cancel the Rams’ round nine match against Mulwala, an early lifting of regional Victoria restrictio­ns on Monday meant games could resume again.

Deniliquin co-coach Sam Hall said the Rams always have ‘‘a tough opponent’’ in the Magpies.

‘‘They like to run and carry the ball and they have a good mix of youth and experience.’’

Hall says the winner assured’’ a finals spot.

The league has announced a restructur­e to the finals eliminatio­n rounds, allowing the top eight sides to compete.

It’s a positive for the Rams who sit seventh on the ladder, but Hall said there is no room for complacenc­y.

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The Rams have kept up their training when play was cancelled, by working on a competitiv­e forward line.

They will look for ball winners in Todd Gallagher, Matt MacDonald, Ricky Gittens, Clay Howe, Damien Maloney and Ryan MacDonald to gain first use of the ball this weekend.

‘‘If we want to play finals and have an impact you need to be able to kick decent scores,’’ Hall said.

‘‘We’ll need to win it out of the midfield — that’s the key for us.’’

Despite a winning result against Moama in the season’s first week — 9.12 (66) to 4.8 (32) — Hall said ‘‘so much has taken place since that game’’.

‘‘We’ll draw some confidence from that initial win, but we also know it’s a whole new ball game this time round,’’ Hall said.

He added the players are ‘‘very keen to get back’’ onto the ground at home and show the crowd a strong performanc­e.

Finals rounds will start from August 28, and the season finishes with the grand final on September 18.

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