BY THE time it takes the field on Saturday, the Mathoura Football Club will have had a three-week break since it last played.
The Timbercutters will need to shake off any signs of rust quickly if they are to compete with Strathmerton at the Mathoura Recreation Reserve.
Coach Phil Hazelman said a few good weeks on the training track helped his confidence heading into a tough game.
‘‘The break came at a good time to be honest, we had a couple of injuries in the Deni Rovers game so we’ve had time to get over those,’’ he said.
‘‘We freshened up and then got stuck in to training when most teams were probably backing off a little. We’ve worked hard so there are no excuses, we go in with pretty much a full side.’’
Mathoura is 1-3 through four games but showed its side is developing well in a massive round three win against Yarroweyah as well as in a competitive 39-point loss in its last outing against the Deniliquin Rovers.
‘‘The belief is now there that we can contend with the top five or six sides,’’ Hazelman said.
‘‘It’s a real positive and the boys have shown that with their application to training. We haven’t worked on anything in particular for Strathmerton, but we know we need to play our best to beat them.’’
Strathmerton played off in last season’s decider where it lost to Picola United, and after a positive start to this season will prove a difficult challenge for its opponent.
‘‘They’ve been successful for a lot of years, they’re an experienced side but they did drop a couple of games early in the season because they’ve got a fair few new guys,’’ Hazelman said.
‘‘The key is their midfield, and if we can shut them down and win more of the footy we’ll give ourselves the opportunity to score more often.’’
While it goes in wanting a second win for the year, Hazelman said hitting the club’s own targets in key areas would be the main focus.
‘‘If we can reach our targets in terms of tackles, inside 50s and stoppages we’ll be pleased,’’ he said.
‘‘If we take care of those things and get those little victories, the result will take care of itself.’’