Sport

Tongala and United to clash for Campaspe Cup

By Andrew Johnston

THE Campaspe Cup between the Echuca United and Tongala football/netball clubs has become a tradition in the region, even when the teams are polar opposites on the ladder.

But with Echuca United's senior football side sitting in the top two, and Tongala on the verge of a top four finish, the clubs have rarely been this close.

And it will provide for one of the best contest of the Murray Football League season, as both teams look for the perfect tune-up for finals.

With their top two spot already assured, United’s will be looking to find ways to adjust their game plan to any situation.

“Every game from here is going to bring a different type of pressure,” coach Guy Campbell said.

“Our biggest challenge is going to be about absorbing that pressure and what we do in response. Tonny will bring a much more physical approach compared to some of the other side’s we’ve faced.

“You don’t always have the luxury of predicting of what’s going to happen in a game of footy so you need to be flexible as individuals and team.

“We will give them the utmost respect but we continue to believe our best is good enough to get the job done.”

United enter Saturday’s game off the back of two straight wins, and Campbell said his side’s ability to embrace each game as it comes has been a big winner in 2019.

“We made a pact as a group at the start of the season not to look too far ahead,” he said.

“Throughout my time in footy, I’ve seen guys get ahead of themselves which comes back to hurt them in the short-term.

“It is super critical for us to keep winning because you never want to enter a finals series without winning momentum.”

For the Blues, the opportunity to make up for a poor performance against Finley awaits.

“I think as a side we are looking for a bit of redemption,” coach Jordan Souter said.

“We weren’t at all happy with how we played in the match before the week off, we’ve been working hard in the past few weeks to get ourselves ready for this match and to make sure we don’t put another performance like that on the park.”

The Blues currently sit fifth on the ladder, two points behind Mulwala.

With two matches remaining in the season, the Blues will be desperate to get back into the four.

“We know our top four hopes are alive,” he said.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult for us to get in, there’s no doubt about that with matches against United and Nathalia, we know we are realistically going to have to pinch at least one of them if we are going to make it.

“There is a bit for us to do, but we are more than prepared to take on the challenge to get there.

"And it’s always a great contest against United.

"We have a strong rivalry with each other, but it’s built out of our respect for one another.

"They’re a great club and are having a great season, so we are looking forward to the contest.”

The clash will take place at the Tongala Recreation Reserve tomorrow.