TUMBARUMBA coach Matt Howarth has put the acid on his players to claim the prized scalp of a flag contender ahead of Saturday’s home encounter against league heavyweight Bullioh.
After winning the past two flags, Tumbarumba sits fourth with a 4-8 record and only percentage clear of Federal with three rounds remaining.
While the defending premier is yet to beat a side above it on the ladder, the Roos have been well below full-strength for the majority of the season as they battle a crippling injury toll.
Howarth said the Roos are set to welcome back James Hayes, Aaron Hallcroft, Josh Campbell and Kurt Allen who all missed last weekend’s 98-point loss against Cudgewa.
“Hopefully we get a few back this week after we were fairly well depleted last week,” Howarth said.
“If we can spring an upset we are almost guaranteed a finals berth otherwise we will have to make next week’s clash with Federal a massive focal point.
“Considering the personnel we had missing last weekend I was still reasonably happy how the boys went about it.
“I suppose we just need a big scalp just to sort of prove we can be a finals wildcard and are simply not making up the numbers.
“If we can shutdown Tom Hickey and a few of their silky smooth midfielders on Saturday it will go a long way to deciding the outcome.”
Howarth believes the premiership race remains wide open, despite Cudgewa who boasts a 11-1 record, being touted a raging flag favourite by most pundits.
“I still think little separates the top-three sides,” he said.
“It’s obviously been wet but I would like to see them all on a dry deck and see how they match-up.
“Obviously Cudgewa’s record speaks for itself but I don’t think they are as dominant as most people think.”
In other matches weekend in-form Cudgewa spearhead Brendan McEvoy will be eyeing another big bag against Border-Walwa after kicking 11 goals against Tumbaraumba last week.
Another close encounter is expected between fierce rivals Corryong and Federal.