CUDGEWA coach Bill Deery has warned his charges they can’t afford to flirt with form ahead of their top-of-the-table home clash with Bullioh on Saturday.
With two weeks remaining before the finals, the Blues are guaranteed their first minor premiership this millennium with a 12-1 record.
With a home second semi-final safely secured, Deery said Cudgewa would be out to gain a psychological advantage over Bullioh, which will be its likely opponent.
“It’s been a long time since the club has been in this position,” Deery said.
“We aren’t under any pressure and play second-placed Bullioh and third-placed Corryong in the final two rounds before finals, which is an ideal preparation.
“It’s not finals yet and we will approach the match just like any other week.
“We will just stick to what we know.
“As they say winning form is good form and we don’t have to do anything different.”
Deery said the Blues would be close to full-strength for Saturday’s blockbuster, with the exception of Ben Hall, Greg Wheeler and Jim Cleven.
Hall will miss the remainder of the year with a broken jaw suffered against Federal in round 11.
Federal’s Zac Tyrell will also miss the rest of the season after he received a four-match suspension for striking Hall.
Wheeler suffered a season ending hamstring injury last week against Border-Walwa and livewire Marty Thompson is unlikely to play again after last playing in round 7.
However, giant ruckman Cleven will be available for the second semi-final after heading overseas in July.
Deery said containing the Bulldog pups would be the key to winning at the weekend.
“They have got a lot of young kids, so once they get their confidence up they’re hard to beat and that’s something we have to keep an eye on,” he said.
“Their kids bring a lot of enthusiasm and they are well coached with Peter Dean and Adrian Whitehead doing the running.”
In other matches, Tumbarumba and Corryong should have little trouble accounting for Federal and Border-Walwa respectively.