WANGARATTA Rovers coach Paul Maher says the Hawks are confident of making an impact in September, despite limping into the finals.
The Hawks fell into fifth spot with a heartstopping three-point win over wooden-spooner Wodonga at John Flower Oval on Saturday.
Wangaratta copped a 188-point pumping from Albury at Norm Minns Oval to allow the Hawks back into the five.
They will take on Corowa-Rutherglen in Sunday’s elimination final at Myrtleford, and Maher said he was still confident of doing damage.
“They’ve beaten us twice, and relatively easy both times, so we would have to be going in as underdogs, but as I’ve said to the boys every week, going into every game, I still feel confident,” he said.
“Even if it’s Albury, or Yarra, or Lavi — because potentially we can play really good footy when we play our best.
“That might put a little fear into opposition sides when they meet us.
“We need to have that faith and belief that we can beat them.”
Maher was rapt with the Hawks’ performance and said it was the ideal preparation for Sunday’s do-or-die clash with the Roos.
“Our handball count was right up,” he said.
“When we run and carry and use the handball, I reckon we look really good, even against those top sides in the competition.
“When we’re stagnant and standing still and go back and bomb it long I think everyone else can beat us.
“The key for us this week is that we back ourselves and take the game on.”
The Roos warmed up for Sunday’s showdown with a 28-point loss to Lavington in a lacklustre affair at John Foord Oval.
The Panthers take on Yarrawonga in Saturday’s qualifying final at W.J. Findlay Oval.
The Pigeons enter that clash in white hot form, with star forward Brendan Fev-ola booting a club record 16 goals in Yarrawonga’s 163-point demolition of Wodonga Raiders.