SOUTH Bendigo won’t be just making up the numbers if it qualifies for the BFNL finals, according to coach Rick Coburn.
After going through the first eight rounds of the season without a defeat, the Bloods have been in free fall – winning just three of their next eight matches.
Somewhat amazingly the Bloods can still finish third and earn a double chance in the finals if they defeat third-placed Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park this Saturday.
On the flip side, a loss to the Hawks combined with likely wins for fifth-placed Sandhurst and sixth-placed Gisborne would see the Bloods drop out of the top five. That scenario would also mark the end of Coburn’s seven-year reign as South Bendigo coach.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us if we can win this week,’’ Coburn said yesterday.
“If we can get through, there’s some signs there that we can do some damage in the finals.
“We haven’t had a great second half of the season, but we played well in patches against Golden Square and then our first half against Castlemaine was really good.
“If we can produce a four-quarter performance then we can mix it with every team.”
The Bloods have had an injury-riddled season, but are expected to regain Bendigo Pioneers trio Liam Byrne, Joel Swatton and Blake Poyser, defender Ben Haines and the versatile Michael Tonkin for this week’s game.
“We’re confident we’ve got the stock to give it a shake,’’ Coburn said.
“The players are positive and they feel as though we’ve turned a corner in the past few weeks.
“We just need to win this week so we can get in there.”