Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Finals on the line against Moama

Both teams desperate for a win as Moama and Deniliquin go head to head at the Hardinge St oval tomorrow.

May 30, 2014 3:56am

Deniliquin’s finals hopes could well be on the line when it hosts Moama at the Hardinge St oval tomorrow.

Sitting just outside the top six, both teams are desperate for a win to stay in touch with the leaders as the Murray Football League enters the middle part of the season.

The Magpies have not defeated the Rams since 2011 and coach Simon Maddox is expecting another hard-fought contest tomorrow.

‘‘We only played them once last year and they are big-bodied and physical,’’ he said.

‘‘They play their ground really well and are a hard side to beat up there, so we’ll need to be on our game.’’

Despite the Rams only winning two of their six games this year, the team has retained a strong percentage courtesy of its stringent defence, with none of their opponents reaching triple figures.

‘‘Even the games they have been beaten in, they have been mighty competitive,’’ Maddox said.

‘‘We are expecting nothing short of a red-hot battle, particularly on their own deck.’’

The Moama coach will look to Rhys Archard and Tyler Jones (26 goals) to maintain their form, as well as the likes of Lachie Schultz, Paul Nevill, Daniel Thorp and Brett Nankervis, but will need to be wary of Rams midfielders Oliver Draffin, Darcy Bell, Ricky Gittens and Todd Gallagher and forward Brett Macdonald, who has kicked 16 goals.

Blake Thompson and Brett Godfrey are chances to return to the Moama side, while electric winger Ryan Hudson has decided to play out the season with MFL rival Rumbalara.

Deniliquin coach Troy Bartlett said 2011 premiership players Jack Tyndall (suspension) and key defender Dan Jordan (work) were likely to return, while young ruckman Kyle Galloway and 17 year-old midfielder Jake Marshall could come in.

‘‘Jake will depend on whether he’s selected for the Murray Bushrangers or not (TAC Cup),’’ Bartlett said.

‘‘Kyle was one of our best in the reserves against Congupna a fortnight ago, so he’s a chance.’’

Bartlett said his side’s win against Congupna in the round before last weekend’s interleague bye would give his side plenty of confidence heading into tomorrow.

Up until then, the Rams had lost four on the trot after upsetting Mulwala in round one.

‘‘I’m confident we can still play finals,’’ Bartlett said.

‘‘We’ve shown over the first five weeks that we can match it with the better sides in the competition so now we need to start winning those close ones.’’

When asked about Moama, Bartlett said the key to beating the Magpies ‘‘is all the little things that we can control’’.

‘‘Things like our energy and excitement. We need to be up and about from the first bounce,’’ said Bartlett, who admitted he may look to quell the influence of some key Moama ball winners.

‘‘While we generally concentrate on what we need to do, each week we do identify key players from the opposition and talk about their strengths and weakness, where they will likely play and who will play on them.’’

One player the Rams will need to watch is star onballer-forward Archard.

‘‘Two weeks ago we had Jake Cavallaro do a role on a midfielder and Darcy Biggs do a role on a half back flanker. Whether we go this way again we’ll wait and see,’’ Bartlett said.

Shaun Connor selects: Deniliquin by 11 points.

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