THEY’VE warmed up, so now it is time for the Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws to start building.
That is the mission the Outlaws have discussed as they prepare to resume their 2018 Central West AFL campaign this Saturday against the Bathurst Giants.
Currently sitting outside the top three – a rarity since the single-tier senior competition was formed in 2016 – the Outlaws know that they must lift their standard to remain in the hunt for the minor premiership.
Co-coach Ben Horn feels that the Outlaws have the talent within their squad to push for a premiership flag, but he also recognises the competition for wins is tougher now than it was in seasons past.
“We have been talking about that over last couple of weeks when we haven’t had footy … we really want to start building for this second half of the season now. We’ve had a few wins and had a couple of losses, so now is the time to really start settling in for the rest of the season,” Horn said.
“The way the competition is this year is excellent. In previous years it has been a bit one-sided for a few teams, but having each game we go into not knowing what the result is, that’s good, it’s really good for the league.
“There’s still a long way to go, but I think we are definitely going in the right direction.”
Like the Outlaws, the Giants have set a solid platform over the first five rounds with three wins and two defeats, but their superior percentage has them in third ahead of the Bushrangers outfit.
One of the Giants’ successes was a 12-point win over the Outlaws in round three, but Lacey is confident his side can make amends.
The bigger George Park 2 playing surface will suit the Outlaws’ style of play – the outfit capable of attacking through the centre corridor but look even more dangerous when on the spread and stretching their rivals.
“I wasn’t there for the last game when they managed to get on top of us, but from what I’ve been told, they played pretty well. They definitely have been improvers, we knew they would be, but I still feel if we can get out and play four quarters of good footy, we’ve definitely got the side that can get the job done,” Lacey said.
“They do have a few strong midfielders, they’ve got a few senior guys who have come over from other clubs which has definitely bolstered their midfield.
“But if we can play our game plan of long running, really trying to spread and switch the play, that will definitely be beneficial to us.
“I think playing down at George Park 2 this weekend is something that we are looking forward too, it is definitely more our style of ground being a bit bigger with more open space. We will try to use that to our advantage.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend, it’s going to be a good hit out.
“Each week is different, we have uni holidays at the moment and are going to use a few due to that, but I still feel we have the side which can get the job done.
“It's not going to be an easy game, that’s for sure, but that’s what we play footy for.”
As for his new coaching role, Horn is enjoying it and is keen to keep pushing his men to find their best.
“It’s nice to hopefully have a bit of influence on the guys as they’re coming up the ranks and throwing in my two cents and trying to come up with a game plan that’s going to be a winning style of footy,” he said.
The opening bounce is at 2.30pm.