DENILIQUIN Rams coach Troy Bartlett concedes another loss to Barooga on Saturday would all but end the club’s finals hopes this year.
In yet another Murray league blockbuster, the Hawks host the Rams in a match that will have a massive say on the make-up of the top six.
While he said it was no more important than any of their remaining games, Bartlett did admit the repercussions of another loss would be significant to their chances.
“It’s just another must-win game for us,” Bartlett said.
“We need to keeping winning and see how we go.
“I don’t think we can afford to drop any, to be honest.
“If we do, we’ll be leaving it up to other results and that’s a situation we don’t want to be in.
“We’re already outside the six, so another loss would really put us behind the eight ball.”
Barooga is presently a game in front of the Rams and a win would virtually seal a spot in the finals for the Hawks with just two games to play.
The Rams lost to Rumbalara by 21 points last week, with Barooga beating Tongala by 27.
“I think we just lost a bit of confidence,” Bartlett said of the Rams’ defeat.
“We need to get back to what we do best, which is win contested footy.
“On the weekend we made a couple of poor skill errors, as well, which cost us goals.”
The Hawks won by five goals when they last met in round 5.
“Hopefully we can redeem ourselves,” Bartlett said.
“We had really poor discipline that game, which I’d say cost us upwards of four goals.”
In a boost for Deniliquin, ruckman Chris O’Connor and Murray Bushranger Jake Marshall headline up to half a dozen changes to face Barooga.
Echuca United and Nathalia face off in yet another finals-shaping battle.
Nathalia sits sixth, but with clashes against Mulwala and Rumbalara still to come, looks to be in the most danger of dropping out of the finals.
Mulwala can make the Purples’ task even harder with a win over Moama.
Winless Cobram faces the daunting task of travelling to Finley to take on the Cats, while Congupna hosts Numurkah.
Rumbalara should be too strong for Tongala.