NORTH Wagga co-coach Nathan Dowdle has declared there is no shortage of motivation for the Saints against The Rock-Yerong Creek on Saturday.
The Saints have won six of their last seven games and will put themselves to the test against the second-placed Magpies at Victoria Park.
Both North Wagga and TRYC are virtually guaranteed of a top-three finish and will meet again in the qualifying final in the opening week of finals.
Dowdle said there is plenty to play for.
“It’s going to be a great challenge,” he said.
“We’re yet to knock off a top two side, that being East Wagga and The Rock, so we’re really looking forward to the test.”
With the result unlikely to effect their season, motivation could be lacking.
But while the Saints are yet to lose to a team below them, they have not looked like beating either the Magpies or Hawks.
Dowdle wants the Saints to start proving themselves against the big boys.
“The first time against East Wagga we weren’t competitive and I thought we played quite poorly against The Rock last time,” he said.
“We just want to gain a bit of confidence and play a decent brand of footy against a good side.
“We want to get some confidence going into finals.
“If they come out and give us a hiding then that’s definitely going to dampen things more.”
The Saints will welcome back co-coach Chad Hamblin from injury.
That leaves Josh Thompson as about the only other North Wagga player on the injured list that will return this season.
Dowdle said there is no reason why the Saints cannot roll TRYC.
“Just before the halfway mark we started to play some really good footy,” he said.
“Since the last three years I’ve been here, it’s the best footy we’ve played.”
Dowdle said the Saints now need to take their game one level higher.
“The biggest aspect we’re learning is that once pressure is applied, our decision making and skill execution drops,” he said.
“It’s a matter of being able to handle that pressure. Good opposition teams apply that pressure and if we’re to take that next step we need to be able to handle it.”
North Wagga has been forced off McPherson Oval this week due to the ground closures and will train on Friday night at the Bolton Park Stadium.
TRYC hope to welcome back captain-coach David Pieper and Josh Meiselbach, while Casey Hillary is in some doubt.
Pieper said TRYC must lift their intensity to avoid a second straight defeat.
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