Barellan hope to have their Melbourne-based ruckman Mitch Gorman back after their double-bye, and haven't ruled a line through their hopes of making finals.
Gorman's been caught in Victoria's latest lockdown for the last two weeks. But the Two Blues welcomed local Brandon Symes' one-off appearance last weekend against Marrar, with the Ovens and Murray League break meaning the Yarrawonga big man was back home in Barellan.
"He was really good. We played him up forward and changed in the ruck - strong hands, big man, great skills, he was a very handy inclusion," Lawder said.
"Being a local, everyone knowing him, helped a lot more with bringing him in. We'd lost a few blokes and we were stretched for numbers so we didn't push anyone out to bring him.
"He's trained with us a few times during the year... and he was our runner at the Coleambally game the week before."
That was when the Two Blues' secured their second win this year.
It was one short of what Barellan had hoped to hit by the half-way mark but they sit seventh, two wins behind the fifth-placed Northern Jets.
But Lawder said five wins for the season was his pre-season aim, so three more would be that goal achieved.
"I'm optimistic. I always knew it was going to be a long road but I want us to be getting the most out of the back half of the year," he said.
"I'm still hoping for the five. If it ends up being a six or a seven, even better...
"I've been around footy long enough to know it's too early to be talking finals from where we are. But in saying that, if we were to win our first game against the Jets it'd really set us up to be able to attack the second half of the year.
"If we lost that one against the Jets, it goes the other way."
Lawder said early injuries didn't help in team needing to bring together a lot of players in a short space of time, but he thinks there's been significant improvement in recent weeks, including kicking nine goals in the loss to Marrar and 10 against East Wagga-Kooringal.
"After the carnage we encountered early in the year, we've had a reasonably good run over the last five weeks," he said.
"We've still had a couple of outs but not the three or four or five we were having at the start of the year so a little bit of continuity in the group.
"We're hoping to get Gormo back but with all that's happening... it's just the unknown. We'll wait and see what happens.
"The belief in the town and the group is definitely growing, in regards to us being on the right track."
If Gorman had been available last week, he is likely to have played down back in a bid to limit James Lawton's influence on the game. Lawton was best on ground in Marrar's win producing another big game.
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