United wary of Bloods on the boil for a finals tilt

July 15, 2017

PICOLA UNITED Football Club will be going into tomorrow’s game a little wary as it meets a rival top-four contender.

Tocumwal’s form has looked deadly of late after the side posted strong wins against Jerilderie, Berrigan and Mathoura, but they’ll be up against the flag favourites tomorrow at Picola.

Coach Jon Varcoe said there wasn’t much separating the top four sides and he was expecting another tight battle after recording a 23-point victory over Tocumwal in round five.

‘‘We’re aware of their good form,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re a strong team and will be fighting for their spot on the ladder to finish as high as they can.

‘‘But we’ve got just as much incentive to turn up and play well.’’

The most pressure was on selectors and coaches this week with two or three players potentially returning from injury.

‘‘It all depends on them getting through (last night’s) training,’’ Varcoe said.

‘‘Spots are getting pretty tight but in the end you want every player fit and available so it’s a good problem to have.

‘‘We’ll be relying on another strong team effort this week to get the win over Toc.’’

Tocumwal’s strong midfield and dangerous forward line would prove difficult for Picola, not to mention a couple of rebounding defenders the homeside would look to negate.

Varcoe said winning the centre clearances and contested footy would be key.

‘‘We want to win the midfield battle and dominate that area of the ground to give our forwards as much opportunity to kick and score,’’ he said.

Varcoe said they would be looking to deliver the ball deep and centred as they had against Jerilderie on Saturday.

‘‘It’s important we maximise our scoring opportunities and be as efficient with our inside 50 entries as we can,’’ he said.

■ COACH Leesa Hoopell hoped Picola United A grade could give top-placed Tocumwal a ‘‘nudge’’ tomorrow in the clash at Picola.

Despite a few injuries across A and B grades, Hoopell said their combinations were starting to come together.

‘‘Our goaling combination of Emma (Greaves) and Kim (McPherson) really clicked this week,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re still juggling a lot of players around at the moment, but every girl who’s stepped up deserves that spot in A grade.’’

Hoopell had been surprised by her B grade imports with Amy Graham, Caitlin Boschetti and Kelsey Trickey again filling a role in A.

‘‘Last week was their first time together in A and they did really well,’’ Hoopell said.

‘‘We might even look at keeping them up, but we still have Penelope Langley to return who’s still not quite 100 per cent fit.’’

Tricky conditions on Saturday meant there were some moments of poor play through the court, but overall the coach was happy with the one-goal win increasing their finals chances.

Danielle Mahncke was a stand out in goal defence with her multiple intercepts and hands to ball.

They had several tricky games coming up after Tocumwal with Blighty and Deniliquin Rovers and Hoopell said their spot in the top five could come down to percentage.

‘‘Berrigan are close behind and if they can get an upset against one of the top sides it could come down to percentage,’’ Hoopell said.

‘‘We’re more focused on the games we have to come though.

‘‘Our attack end could use more finesse and we’ll be working to improve on our holds in and around the ring to get the ball in a little easier to our goalers.

‘‘Tocumwal are strong in all areas of the court, but if we can keep their goals to a minimum and score a few more of our own we should stay with them and keep a bit of percentage.’’

While Hoopell wasn’t writing-off a win she knew Tocumwal’s class would be tough to match and said tomorrow’s aim was to get within 20 goals.

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