FIRMING its grip on a Central West AFL top two spot and doing its Bathurst Bushrangers club-mates a favour in the process – that will be the goal for the Rebels this Saturday.
The Rebels will head to Dubbo for the third-last match of the regular season, one which carries plenty of weight in the jostle for semi-final spots.
While Orange Tigers seemingly have a lock on the minor premiership, in terms of the top four the rest of the ladder is far from decided.
The Rebels currently hold second, but it is only a superior for and against percentage which gives it the edge over the third-placed Bathurst Giants.
The Bushrangers Outlaws are fourth, but once again it is only percentage which has them resting ahead of fifth placed Dubbo Demons.
The goal for the Bushrangers is to have Rebels qualify in second and the Outlaws cement fourth, something which the club can take a big step towards achieving with success in Dubbo.
“That battle for fourth place is really heating up and as we all know, Dubbo is a little unpredictable at home. We will go over there expecting them to be as strong as they can be,” Rebels co-coach Steve Grundy said.
“A win would be fantastic for the Rebels, but if we can help the Outlaws, then even better.
“It would be a lot of benefit to the club if we can come top two, if you end up three v four in that first final, that wouldn’t be ideal.
“If we could get top two, that guarantees Rebels a second shot and that we don’t meet each other in that first round which is better for the club.”
The Rebels have had the better of the Demons in their two prior meetings this season – winning 21-20-146 to 7-8-50 at Dubbo then 14-21-105 to 5-5-35 when playing at George Park.
Rebels also head into Saturday’s game after a good win over Outlaws last weekend while the Demons were thumped 102-18 by Orange.
But Grundy knows that the lure of a finals spot means the Demons can not be underestimated.
“They’ve got the incentive to make finals at the moment, so I’m expecting a really strong Dubbo outfit,” Grundy said.
“I’ve gone over there many times and I know if you go over there complacent then they will go over the top of you, so we have to be right on top of our game.
“At the end of the day Rebels have plenty of incentive to win it as well. A win on the road over there goes a long way to wrapping up that top two. The boys will all be fired up and we’re really excited about it.”
Opening bounce is at 2.30pm at South Dubbo Oval.