Lockington ready for finals battle

By Andrew Johnston

WHEN LBU premiership hero Kahl Oliver returned to the club before 2018, it was in a down period.

The club's four flags of the early decade were behind them, and the Cats hadn't played finals in three years.

In 2018 Oliver took them back in his role as coach, and this year has his side in a qualifying final, as the Cats take on Colbinabbin on Saturday.

For Oliver, it's only the beginning of his plans.

"I love our football club," he said.

"Getting back where we belong is something I am very proud of. But I don't judge success just on making it to the finals, premierships are what we work for.

"It's not going to be easy, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us in the next few weeks to get there, but I believe this team has the quality to deliver a flag to our club."

The run to a premiership starts tomorrow against a Colbinabbin side the Cats have beaten twice on 2019 already.

On both occasions LBU seemingly had the game won by the quarter time mark, kicking nine and seven goals in the opening quarters of the contests.

For Oliver, this will again be key.

"We've had the best starts of our season against Colbo, so they will be expecting a fast start," he said.

"I imagine they will be prepared for us, so it means we will again have to take it up a step or two in the way we get the game going.

"When we played them this season, I don't think we saw the best of what they had. They have continued to get better as the year has gone on, I watched them last week against North Bendigo and you could see the improvement from the last time we played.

"We respect the way they go about things and hope they play the game, it's going to be a fantastic contest. We think the weather is going to work to our advantage, it will be a warmer day so it should suit us."

Oliver identified Ben Southerm, a high half-forward who can regularly produce in the middle of the ground, as the key Hopper to stop.

But the Cats ultimate strength may well be the difficulty in picking one player for Colbo to stop.

"We are lucky in that every player on the ground contributes to our side," he said.

"We don't rely on one bloke on the field, and that's especially true when we get the ball into the forward line. There are multiple guys who are great avenues to goal, so if you man up one of them with your best defender, there are multiple other guys who can do damage on the scoreboard. It's a great position to be in."

The Cats final begins at 2.15 on Saturday at the DeGroot Roof Painting Gunbower Recreation Reserve.