COOLAMON coach Matt Hard admits both his team and Collingullie-Glenfield Park face a strange scenario at Kindra Park on Saturday.
The two teams will face off in a final round clash in the knowledge that they will meet again the following week in a sudden death elimination final, regardless of Saturday’s result.
Both teams need to decide whether to chase the four points and gain an important mental edge, or rest up to prepare for the higher stakes the week after.
“It’s a difficult one,” Hard said.
“I’m still trying to answer that I guess.
“We play every game to win and this week will be no different.
“The side we’re up against beat us convincingly last time so we want to go out there and get something out of it and get some confidence for the following week.”
The Hoppers’ selection panel will have some interesting decisions to make on Thursday night.
Canberra recruit Dan Ryall will almost certainly miss the final round with a hamstring strain but is expected back a week later.
Coolamon will decide whether to bring Chris Ladhams from Adelaide.
He missed last weekend’s loss to Wagga Tigers with a calf injury and could return for Saturday’s dead rubber.
“Chris trained last Thursday night and we were very close to playing him last week,” Hard explained.
“We’ll see how he’s going but if he’s fit, he’s likely to play.”
Ladhams has booted 45 goals from nine games and is five behind Wagga Tigers’ John Buchanan in the goalkicking race.
Marshal Macauley battled injury last week but is unlikely to be rested, according to Hard, while Mark Crawford is close to a return.
Hard believes there is little point trying to hide things on Saturday.
“Given it’s the last round, everyone has a fair idea about the opposition by now,” he said.
“It’s not as if we’ve been hiding some blokes for 15 weeks and come finals it’s all of a sudden going to be ‘here he is’.
“We want to have a good last game and go into the following week with a bit of confidence.”
The Demons are likely to be without key defender Geoff Spriggs with a finger injury, with he and Brad Aiken hopeful to return the following week.
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