More at stake than cup

July 13, 2017

Merrigum coach Mick Power will have plenty of instructions for his troops during their showdown with Lancaster on Saturday.

Merrigum and Lancaster matches do not need any extra hype.

The rivalry always makes them must-watch in the Kyabram District Football League, but there will be extra significance on Saturday.

If these teams are serious about playing finals this year, then the battle for the Paddy McMahon Cup is a game they simply have to win.

A spot in sixth on the ladder is the prize for whoever wins, with the Wombats occupying that position at the moment.

Merrigum coach Mick Power said his side was looking to take a scalp after four straight wins against teams in the lower half of the ladder.

The Bulldogs are coming off a grinding 10-point victory against Girgarre last Saturday.

‘‘We’ll keep building on that confidence from the last five or six weeks,’’ Power said.

‘‘Their (Lancaster) run is pretty important and we’ll have to shut that down.’’

Power, who arrived at the club only this year, said he had noticed a different and bigger build-up to this game against the traditional rival.

‘‘Both teams are always looking to make sure they win and it’s always huge, regardless of where we are on the ladder,’’ Power said.

Josh Stammers, Brad Power and Daniel Dryden missed the triumph against the Kangaroos, but are chances to return for the showdown.

Meanwhile, the Wombats have looked to move on as quickly as possible after a devastating loss to Stanhope last week.

Lancaster was home midway through the final quarter when it was 30 points in front, but the Lions turned on a sensational 15-minute spurt to pinch a famous win.

Wombats playing coach Nick Bertoli said on Sunday his club had to put the result behind it immediately.

It put a dampener on a competitive few weeks, where the Wombats were right in the contest against last year’s grand finalists Nagambie and Avenel, before losing in close contests.

Steve Thomson, who played in Kyabram’s all-conquering Goulburn Valley League team last year, has been sensational all season.

Alex Kydd, Brad Orr, Coby O’Neill and Brad Tinning are pushing to return from injuries.

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