HE'S been a key goal scorer in two different codes this year, and Kai Watts is confident he can help Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong overcome the absence of key forwards in Saturday's home blockbuster against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes.
The Lions' only loss of the year was at the hands of the unbeaten Goannas in a 49-point defeat in round five, but they've been dominant in most games since.
A superior percentage means the Lions can leapfrog their rivals into top spot with a win, and Watts shapes as a key factor in that quest.
He backed up a five-goal display against Collingullie-Glenfield Park with a best-on-ground performance at Leeton last week.
The 18-year-old also plays soccer for Wagga United, who are set to miss the finals this year. But the GWS Giants Academy member is now focusing mostly on Australian Rules.
He said he is looking forward to being a focal point in attack for the Lions with key forwards George Alexander (ankle, season) and Riley Corbett (quad, 3-4 weeks) out of the side.
"It's good being the main bloke down there and trying to control everything down forward," he said.
"They've named me as the main forward and it's put a bit more responsibility on me. But our small forward line has worked pretty well with George and Riley not there."
The big-bodied Watts played in the Sydney competition last year before signing with the Lions this season.
"It's probably more physical than Sydney at RFL level," Watts said.
"It wasn't great weather when we played them last time, and hopefully on the home ground we can get on top of them.
"I'm sure if we can shut down a couple of their key players we can do that."
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Watts made the decision to focus on Australian Rules a couple of years ago and was named an All Australian in under-15s, but also represented his state at junior level in soccer.
"Footy is the priority but it's going pretty well juggling both of them," he said.
"I've chosen footy, I'm just playing soccer as a bit of extra fitness. Just before I moved to Sydney I made the decision to play Aussie Rules over soccer, which was pretty tough but it was something that had to be done sooner or later.
"It's good for Marto (Lions coach Sam Martyn) to let me, as long as we're fit and ready for the following week we're happy.
"The next few weeks we've got some big games against Mango and Coolamon coming up, I might take a rest (from soccer) and focus on those games but I'm not sure yet."
Lions coach Sam Martyn praised Watts for his ability to lift in the absence of their spearheads.
"Kai has been in a rich vein of form. The game last week on a miserable day (at Leeton) he made it look dry with his ability to pick the ball up cleanly," Martyn said.
"He only kicked one goal but set up a lot of our shots on goal.
"He's one of those players who has those big moments and you shake your head. He makes some hard things look incredibly easy."
Martyn has been pleased with how ruthlessly the team has disposed of rivals at times since the Goannas loss, but expects Saturday to have finals-type intensity.
"We were embarrassed a bit in that last game we played them," he said.
"We obviously had to take care of business with other teams week to week, but in the back of our minds this is the game we've prepared for. We want to showcase our brand of footy, because last time we fell short of our expectations.
"There was four wins against sides lower than us (before the Goannas game). After that game the team talk was more about making sure we are the team we think we are, not the flat track bullies that will be the perception.
"We know how good we are and hopefully we can get the redemption we've been seeking. But we have to play our best brand of footy to beat them, there's no doubt about that."
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