Sport

Dusty and after polish

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June 08, 2018

Rochester is hopeful key target Rhys Free will be back on deck against Benalla tomorrow.

Rochester will attempt to use the pain of a tight loss last week to spur itself towards victory against Benalla tomorrow.

The Tigers led in the final term of their clash against Euroa, but could not hold on for a stirring win.

With the Goulburn Valley League table already resembling a logjam of the highest order, Rochester playing coach James Flaherty knows his charges must knock off the Saints in order to remain in touch with the top six.

‘‘We know we’ve got a tough month of games,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘But we were close last week and the boys are eager to get a win this weekend.’’

The Tigers sit eighth on the ladder with a 4-4 record after consecutive losses to Kyabram and the Magpies, but Flaherty feels his troops have let themselves down in the past fortnight.

‘‘We’re lacking a bit of polish and our ball use is hurting us,’’ he said.

‘‘But those are things you can change at training so we’ve been working on them.’’

Rhys Free is a chance to return for the Tigers tomorrow, who will be playing in front of a huge crowd at Moon Oval with the 2008 premiership reunion taking place in the stands.

‘‘Something like that is always good to be involved in and hopefully it’s a good crowd with a few locals coming back,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘Hopefully we can play well. Most of the top sides move the ball very quickly, so our game style probably won’t change too much from the last few weeks.’’

The Saints are certainly one of the top sides — with just one blemish for the season — but playing coach Luke Morgan wants his group to remain focused on the task at hand.

‘‘Rochester are a good side, especially over there,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘We need to play well, and we know we’ve got a really challenging period ahead of us and we need to continue to back up our performances.

‘‘If we can keep winning, we’ll be able to stay ahead of the chasing pack.’’

Mark Marriott and Patrick Warner will return to the Murray Bushrangers’ ranks, but Morgan is confident his squad can fill the gaps well.

‘‘It’s starting to get to the point where the season can open up for you or close in on you, so we know we have to keep playing well,’’ he said.

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