WAGGA Tigers captain-coach Matt Rava wants his team to seize the opportunity that presents against Leeton-Whitton on Saturday.
In such an even Riverina League competition this year, Tigers get the chance to move to three (wins) and one (loss) with a victory over the Crows.
Leeton-Whitton has proven themselves as genuine premiership contenders and the points will not come easy at Leeton Showground.
Rava would love Tigers to get the win and put themselves in a strong position early in the year.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve lost a lot of early games that have hurt us at the back end of the year,” Rava said.
“Everyone’s goal is to make finals, then the next goal is to finish top three to give yourself the best opportunity at the end of the year,
“We’re obviously still a long way off but these early games, if you can win a couple that you’re not expected to, they can take you a long way at the end of the year.”
Tigers will travel to Leeton on the back of a heartening come-from-behind win over Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes.
Rava hopes his team takes plenty from the win.
“It showed a bit of character, being able to respond from the week before, and to even respond after they kicked the first three goals of the game, and being down by three goals at three-quarter-time.
“Just that will to win, that self belief, we didn’t have that early last year.
“I think it shows the group if maturing.”
Tigers are unlikely to make any changes to the team that edged out the Goannas.
Matt Noonan made a strong case for a return in reserve grade last week as Rava looks for consistency in the senior team.
Leeton-Whitton will welcome back Brad Boots, while key defender Craig Townsend is unavailable.
Rava expects the Crows to be strong.
“Every club has recruited pretty well and from all reports the ones Leeton have are pretty handy,” he said.
“I used to play a bit of rep footy with Toby Conroy, so I know he’s a pretty good mover, and I was talking to the Ganmain boys and they said they’ve got a few boys with a bit of size who use the footy fairly well.
“So it will be interesting.”
Leeton-Whitton coach David Meline wants to see improvement from last week’s big win over GGGM.
“There were times last week when Ganmain came at us and we sort of panicked a bit,” Meline said.
“It’s pretty unlikely you’re going to play four perfect quarters of footy, but if we can be solid and make improvements then that’s all you can ask.”
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