K rock Football

Pressure a privilege – Smith

Werribee Centrals will make its first final appearances in six years on Saturday. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

WERRIBEE Centrals coach Nick Smith says his club is embracing the pressure ahead of Saturday’s qualifying final meeting with Bannockburn at St Albans Reserve.

It will be the Centurions’ first appearance in the post-season since 2013 but has played down suggestions of a free-hit against the Tigers.

“We feel like we’ve earned the right to be in third spot,” Smith said.

“I said to the guys the other day, “just remember that pressure is a privilege. If you’re not under pressure, it usually means you’re not doing any good”.

“There are a lot of teams now that aren’t under pressure.

“From our perspective, we welcome the pressure. That’s what we earnt by finishing third.

“We think we’re good enough to beat Bannockburn, and we want to have another crack at Thomson to see if we can get straight in (to a grand final).”

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Smith is looking forward to the chance to roll out the Centurions’ game style on the vast expanses of St Albans Reserve.

“I’m excited by that, and I know the players are, and I guess that’s always been the chat around our group,” he said.

“But, I guess you’ve got to play on it to find out.

“To be honest, it was part of the reason I was rapt to get the double-chance because you’re not 100 per cent sure how you’re going to adjust to that ground, and just even the finals expectations.

“Having the double-chance is handy.”

Forward Nic Bauld and youngster Aadyn Sleep-Dalton have both been named to return for their first games in more than a month having spent time overseas.

Smith says their selection was up for discussion at match committee during the week.

Both were important when the Centurions defeated the Tigers by 32 points in the Round 11 clash at Victoria Park, where the home team was kept to its lowest score of the season.

Bauld kicked three of Centrals’ seven goals and featured in the best players with Sleep-Dalton.

“It’s pretty hard to ignore that before they left, they were among our best 3-4 players,” he said. “So, you keep that in mind.

“But this is where coaches start earning their money.”

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