Barooga Hawks can be a finals factor

BAROOGA coach Leigh Ramsdale says the Hawks remain confident they are a premiership contender, despite walking the finals tightrope.

The Hawks face reigning premier Echuca United in the first semi-final at Mulwala on Sunday after sinking the Lions by 41 points in an elimination final last weekend.

While history and logic aren’t on their side, Ramsdale said there was no reason the Hawks couldn’t be a factor in September.

“We’re still confident our best footy is as good as anyone else’s,” he said.

“The thing is you have to be on your game every week because it’s basically one slip up and you’re out.

“We’ve got no excuses this week.

“We’ve got the best list we’ve had for a while and no injuries.”

The Eagles lost three of their last six games leading into the finals, but came good against Deniliquin Rams in the other elimination final.

Ramsdale isn’t underestimating the defending champion.

“Their form hasn’t been huge but they’ve easily got the biggest bodied side in the competition,” he said.

“They’ll want to play on their terms and clog it up.

“They might think the ground will suit them but we just need to keep control of the footy and keep it moving.

“It will be all about getting quick entries for us.”

Ruckman James Philpot has drifted forward at the pointy end of the season, booting 20 goals in the Hawks’ past seven outings.

He kicked five against Mulwala, but Ramsdale kept his cards close to his chest when asked where the star big man would line up this weekend.

Finley will shoot for a spot in the grand final when it takes on minor premier Rumbalara in Saturday’s second semi-final at Congupna.