NORTH Albury coach Jason Akermanis says the Hoppers would love nothing more than to gatecrash Wangaratta’s finals party at Bunton Park tomorrow.
Despite being out of the race themselves, Akermanis said the Hoppers still had plenty to play for in the last four rounds of the season.
And ending the Pies’ recently reignited finals hopes tomorrow is where they want to start.
“We want to win every game,” Akermanis said.
“It’s not like the AFL where we’re trying to lose games for draft picks.
“They had a big game against their arch enemy and had a big win, which is terrific for them.
“They have ambitions of playing finals but we know in all of our last four games we’re good enough to win, if we play our best footy.”
Akermanis said the Hoppers were keen to prove themselves as the best of the rest in the run home.
“I said at the halfway mark that we were the best team I’d ever seen to be 3-7, or whatever we were,” the Brownlow medallist said.
“We don’t get blown off the park and we’ve been in a lot of games.
“We’ve just got to make sure our pressure, particularly this week, is right on.”
The former Brisbane Lions star, who will play the second last game of his glittering career tomorrow, said last week’s 123-point thumping of Wodonga Raiders gave the Hoppers a lot of confidence.
“We’ve been close all year and last week was a step in the right direction,” Akermanis said.
“Now the challenge for us is can we bring that every week and spoil the party for a few sides along the way and get some of those wins we deserved earlier in the year.”
North Albury, which was widely tipped to claim this year’s wooden spoon, has exceeded all external expectations this season.
The club’s young players have rallied behind Akermanis and sit seventh on the ladder with four games to go.