It has been seemingly impossible for Stawell to build any momentum in 2019.
The Warriors, despite comfortably sealing a finals spot with a 10-6 record, are yet to win more than two consecutive games this season.
The side’s inconsistent performances have frustrated coach Damian Joiner, who believes his side is more than capable of taking on the league’s elite.
“It’s been an up-and-down season, but when we’re at our best I think we can mix it with any of the sides in the league for sure,” he said.
“We’ve been a little bit inconsistent and our poorer games have been against good opposition, which probably makes them look worse than what they have been.
“We’re still confident going into every week and no matter who is on the other side of the field, we give ourselves a red-hot chance of winning.”
It is this confidence that could prove vital in the pressure cooker of Wimmera Football League finals.
Despite its inconsistency the side has shown marked improvement
on last year, when it missed the post-season with seven wins and nine losses.
Helping the team turn its form around has been Tom Eckel, a Stawell star who departed last season to try his hand with Glenelg in the South Australian National Football League.
Eckel’s returned presence in the midfield has given the Warriors a shot in the arm.
Another addition for 2019 has been former Portland player Jay Moody.
Moody has experience at VFL level with Geelong and North Ballarat and has been a versatile presence for the Warriors, playing forward, back or in the midfield.
Stawell’s backline has been another strength this season, anchored by two Jacksons – Dark and Taurau.
The dynamic Dark is vital to the team’s structure at centre half back, flying for intercept marks and creating plenty of play while Taurau holds down the full back position.