ALBURY Thunder coach Josh Cale can’t explain a draw that will again see the premiers facing a match fitness crisis come finals time.
Group 9 clubs have agreed to a carbon copy of the 2013 draw, the only change in reversing the order of home and away games.
But it also leaves the Thunder with the bye in the last round and the likelihood of just two games in five weeks if they again finish on top.
Cale, who will call the shots from the bench this year, says the situation is a Catch 22 for a club looking for a three-peat.
“This year it worked in our favour in that we were able to re-group — treat some niggling injuries and at the same time do our homework on the opposition,” he said.
“We got to look at some of the other sides including South City twice.
“But the reality is it is another hurdle for the club and far from ideal.
“You can train as hard as you like in the weeks off but there is nothing like a game.
“But I’m not sure whether there is any competition in Australia that simply trots out the same draw but then again all the clubs have agreed to it.”
Cale said they will look to some of the lessons learned in last year’s finals preparation if they are in same situation again.
Cale said the additional challenge was peaking at the end of a competition that starts with the grand final rematch.
“The only advantage this year is that round one blockbuster will be here in Albury and we’ll have the homeground support.”