K rock Football

Inverleigh embraces expectation

THE minor premiership and a berth in the second semi-final now locked away, Inverleigh has now turned its attention to snapping a 26-year premiership drought.

The consensus across the GDFL is that this year’s flag is the Hawks’ to lose, and that sits comfortably with coach Mark McDowell.

“We’ve put it on ourselves that we want to win it. We’ve never stepped away from that,” McDowell said.

“Our goal is to win the premiership, but we’ve got a bit of a way to go to even get to a grand final.

“That’s what our goal is.

“So, regardless of what happened around us at different times throughout the year, we’ve always been clearly focused on that.”

Inverleigh made sure it would start its finals campaign from the second semi-final by beating fellow premiership contender by 38 points at Inverleigh Reserve on Saturday.

The Tigers kicked the first goal of the game, but could only manage five more for the contest.

“I think we applied really strong pressure for four quarters. We were pretty relentless with that,” McDowell said.

“That just gets down to a mindset – players buy-in and their determination and concentration to apply it for the whole game – and I thought they did that really well.”

The Hawks will round out the home-and-away season with a clash against Corio, with McDowell likely to use the match-up with the struggling Devils to rest some sore bodies.

“They’re all doing recovery today (Sunday), so I’ll just check the list after today, see how they pull up through the week, and if there’s any there that have any bumps or bruises, we’ve got some pretty good depth in the twos to cover us,” he said.

“It’s just about taking full advantage of the next couple of weeks to really get everyone fresh and ready to go.”

McDowell is also leaning towards giving Casey Meehan, Brandon Nankivell and league-leading goal kicker Nathan Mayes another fortnight to get themselves right.

Although he expects Mayes, who has kicked 51 goals, one clear of Bell Post Hill’s Jayden Ettridge, to want to play.

“He’ll be trying. He’ll be trying really hard, I reckon,” McDowell said.

“He’d have to convince me more than 100 per cent that was totally right to go for him to play. Otherwise, I don’t just think it’s worth the risk.

“He’s got a slight twinge in the groin.

“He’ll have to be able to train fully Thursday night for us to even consider playing him.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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