Rovers’ reality check could be more bad news for Raiders

Wangaratta Rovers coach Paul Maher
Wangaratta Rovers coach Paul Maher

WANGARATTA Rovers coach Paul Maher says last week’s poor showing against Lavington was another “reality check” for the Hawks in the lead up to the finals.

But the first-year coach remains adamant his team can compete with the best of them when it counts.

The fifth-placed Hawks host Wodonga Raiders at W.J. Findlay Oval today coming off a 59-point loss to the Panthers.

The Rovers recorded their best win in years when they thumped the Raiders by 92 points in round four after an equally disappointing result against Lavington.

Maher is hoping for a similar response today.

“We are, absolutely,” he said.

“We expect to put up a much better showing than last week.

“It was a reality check and we know we can’t continue to put in two quarters every week and then get blown away in 10 to 15 minutes.

“That’s all it takes.”

Maher said fitness was not the issue behind the Hawks’ continued second-half lapses.

“The guys feel like we’re fit enough,” he said.

“We don’t believe it’s that.

“Sometimes, we’re not getting the ball out of the middle as much as we’d like and it impacts around the ground.

“We still believe we can get it right.”

Dylan Stone, the younger brother of Ryan, will make his senior debut for the Hawks.

Maher said the Hawks weren’t expecting today’s clash to be a walk in the park.

“Similar to what Albury and Lavington have been able to do to us over the past few weeks, we did to the Raiders last time,” he said.

“It was only a 15-minute thing.

“The other three and a bit quarters were hard fought.

“I’m pretty confident the guys are under no illusions we’ll be in for a hard game.”