Charles Sturt University assistant coach Brayden Ambler believes they’re more than capable of causing a top three upset this weekend against his old club, Temora.
After losses to Marrar and North Wagga in their last two games, the Bushpigs are planning an ambush against the Kangaroos at Peter Hastie Oval on Saturday, to validate their status as finals contenders.
CSU lost to all three top teams in their first three games of the season. Ambler believes they are yet to earn respect so this week represents a huge opportunity.
“It’s pretty massive, I think. We’ve got every chance of knocking them off. We had a talk on Tuesday night and set some goals and I think this weekend is do-able. We’ve just got to play as a team,” Ambler said.
“We’re under-rated. I know we’re under-rated. We’re just going under the radar a bit, which is good.”
Ambler admits taking on his old club – who he went to a grand final with last year – does add something extra to this fixture.
“It’s nerve-wracking when you’ve played a full year with them and I know most of the boys. I’ll be nervous but it’s just another game of footy, I suppose. I’ll just go out there and play,” he said.
Ambler left the Roos for CSU to be closer to work in Wagga but also to take on a leadership role as an assistant to Pat Noonan.
“It’s been really good. I did a little bit of coaching with cricket but it’s a whole different level. I’ve taken a big responsibility there and I'm enjoying it,” he said.
“It’s good having Pat there. He’s been unreal… he’s got some experience at high level footy an he’s really taken me under his wing. I’ve learnt a fair bit.”
Sitting fifth, the Bushpigs are a win (and percentage) clear of the Northern Jet, and two wins clear of The Rock-Yerong Creek.
We’ve got every chance of knocking them off. I think this weekend is do-able.Brayden Ambler, CSU assistant coach
A victory against a team above them on the ladder would go a long way towards securing that finals spot.
Controlling the midfield to limit Temora’s ability to go forward cleanly to key forward Matt Wallis is going to be critical.
“They’ve got a high quality midfield with Sam Jensen and Kieran Shea in there and then they’ve got Tim McAuley who’s a very aggressive footballer so it’s going to be a good contest. We’ll have to tighten our straps and work both ways” Ambler said.
As well as the consistent Ambler, CSU will look to their midfielders Rob Herzfeld and Louis Miller as well as ruckman Vas Seker to get the job done. And Ambler suggests the competition hasn’t seen the best of their forward, Joe Stapleton, yet.
“He can really step up another notch – I can see that happening and it’d be good for him to take a few big grabs and kick a few goals,” he said.