Coleambally coach Josh Hamilton rejects the assertion that his Blues are mud-runners thriving in a wet winter, whose wins will dry up as soon as the weather does.
The Blues haven’t lost a game since round two and are the only team to have beaten every other side.
Their victories against East Wagga-Kooringal and The Rock-Yerong Creek came in the some of the wettest weather of the season
“Obviously we’ve done really well in the wet but I think we can play in all conditions,” Hamilton said.
“We‘ve got guys who can run-and-carry, we’ve got guys who can take good marks and we’ve got a good back six as well.”
They play last year’s two grand finalists for the second time in the next fortnight needing to win both to secure the minor premiership.
But they’ll have to do it the tough way against The Rock-Yerong Creek – without any of the Pound brothers as Carl, Tony and Shane attend a family wedding.
That’s more than 850 games of first grade experience missing.
“Massive difference,” Hamilton said.
“But there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ve just got to do the best we can and it gives other guys a chance.”
The big change for Coleambally this season is their depth – evidenced by Simon Mackie and Chris Cerato being named in the key defensive roles, Kodie O’Malley shifting from a pocket to centre-half-forward and Nathan Jones returning to the forward line.
Hamilton said it’s the right time of year to have competition for spots, as they virtually kick off finals two weeks early.
He’s looking for the same flying start they made against the Pies back in round eight, when they kicked four first quarter goals and then engineered a shut-out to enjoy a 40-point win.
Hamilton said it was their most consistent performance all season, with TRYC held to just two goals and their dangerous forwards starved of opportunities.
“We kept shutting the ball down across half-back and it worked out pretty well so that’s what we’ll be hoping to do again,” he said.
“Obviously Andy (Carey) is pretty strong and hard to contain at the best of times and they’ve got (Mitch) Ward as well, so the more we can keep the ball away from them guys the better off we’ll be.”
Pies co-coach Andy Carey knows they’ll be hard to beat at home – where they upset TRYC last year – but he isn’t reading too much into that game in the rain at Victoria Park.
“That probably suits them a lot better… on a dry track and on a couple of the bigger grounds, they might run out of puff a bit,” Carey said.
“The bigger bodies certainly helped them that day with the wet weather.”
Just don’t tell Josh Hamilton that.