OUTGOING Deniliquin coach Gary Parsons has questioned his team’s mental state ahead of the Rams’ crunch clash with Nathalia.
The Rams were expected to have cemented their spot inside the top six by now but must now win their remaining two games to make a finals appearance a certainty.
A shock loss to Tongala last weekend threw a spanner in the works and Parsons thinks his team may have switched off lately.
“I don’t know if we were relaxed, thinking we were home and whether it was a mental thing but we’re still not assured a spot,” Parsons said.
“We are still in the box seat, because of percentage, but we want and need to win our last two games.
“We’re not relying on anybody else, which is good.
“They’ve got to bridge a fair gap.”
In a further boost to the Rams’ cause, they take on winless Tocumwal in the final round of the season.
It would be a shock if Deniliquin did not play finals.
But Parsons said that alone wasn’t enough.
“We don’t want to just make up the numbers,” he said.
“If you’re playing finals, you want to take a bit of form and momentum in there and not just stumble in.
“We’ve been down for about five or six weeks now.”
Parsons, who will stand down as coach at the end of season, said the nail-biting finals race was good for the Murray league.
“But not much good for us coaches and giving us grey hair,” he said with a laugh.
Parsons has coached the club to five premierships and was in charge during its golden run from 2001 to 2004.
Meanwhile, in other games this week, Finley faces a stern test in the lead up to finals when it hosts Echuca United.
The Eagles have the bye in the last round and will be out to tune up for finals.
Finley, though, sits in third and can keep its hopes of snaring a top-two spot and week off alive with a win.
Mulwala, the other team in the mix for the double chance, should account for Tongala at Lonsdale Reserve.
Finals-bound Numurkah hosts Congupna while Rumbalara and Barooga will be playing for pride when they meet this weekend.
Moama should have an easy win over Tocumwal.