THERE are plenty of question marks hanging over Barnawartha heading into Saturday’s preliminary final against Dederang-Mount Beauty at Sandy Creek.
Will the six-day break hurt the Tigers?
Can they hold the Bradshaw brothers?
Do they have the composure to work their way through Marc Almond’s press?
They are all legitimate questions.
But one thing even the harshest of critics couldn’t question is Barnawartha’s ability to stand up under the fiercest of pressure after it fought its way back from eighth position on the ladder after 11 rounds to play finals.
“We have been playing finals footy for nearly two months now,” assistant-coach Peter Cook said yesterday.
“I think we have won 10 out of the our last 12.
“It helps being such a young group.
“We have been playing together for three or four years and everyone knows each other’s game which I think has really helped late in the season.”
Cook acknowledges Saturday’s task will be the toughest of any challenge Barnawartha has faced this year with the Bombers expected to come out breathing fire after losing to Mitta United last weekend.
Not that the former Ovens and Murray League third grade best and fairest winner minds the underdog tag.
“It’s a big task,” Cook said.
“We are coming off a six-day break and all we can do is go out and run and see what happens.
“It’s a fairytale at the minute and hopefully it can continue.”
Cook understands better than most that miracles do happen in the league after the Tigers were on the end of one during the 2011 finals series when Kiewa-Sandy Creek fought back from a 33-point deficit in the final quarter of the elimination final to defeat Thurgoona in the grand final.
But at the moment it’s all about Dederang-Mount Beauty.
“It’s the biggest game of the year,” Cook said.
“They are a great side, they have been all year.
“All we are looking for on Saturday is another really even spread.”