Lake Albert midfielder Jamie Rankin is hoping to extend his purple patch of form when the Sharks run out against cross-town rivals Wagga United in Sunday’s semi final.
A two-time player’s player recipient at his junior club, Rankin has been among Lake Albert’s best this season and was recently named in the Pascoe Cup team of the year at Football Wagga’s Gala Night.
The physical centre has also kept an incredibly clean record in his three seasons with the Sharks, receiving just two yellow cards in 56 games with no cards recorded in 2018.
It’s the kind of discipline that has kept Lake Albert ahead of the pack this year and Rankin says they’ll only get better in the finals cauldron.
“Everyone’s feeling really fresh after the week off and a few of us went down to watch the elimination finals last week,” Rankin said.
It really lit a fire in the belly seeing those teams in action and me and the other boys are itching to get out there.Lake Albert midfielder Jamie Rankin
Lake Albert will undoubtedly be keen to erase the memory of their most recent encounter - an uninspired 1-all draw at Rawlings Park - but another grand final berth is more than enough motivation for Rankin.
“That premiership was bloody unreal and you always remember the feeling,” Rankin said.
“It’s what we play for and it’s why we’ve worked so hard this season.”
Rankin echoed the sentiments of coach and close friend Mitch Tinnock when questioned about Wagga United’s comeback win over Tolland, insisting their side was ready to take on whichever team came out on top in the elimination final.
“I didn’t really have expectations about who we would play against but,” Rankin said.
“We don’t really concern ourselves too much with other teams or results in the past - we’ll just worry about our game and doing our jobs.
“We’ve had a few really good season since 2016, first under Michael Babic, and then Tinny’s come in and made his own little adjustments and changes as a coach that have put us in a really good position.
“The result this year speak for themselves, so we’ll just go out there on Sunday and play our game.”
A semi final victory against United would hand Lake Albert a rare opportunity to etch their name in history and complete an undefeated premiership season.
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