Panthers need results to go their way in final round of season

GAME ON: Doug Hewitt will lead Bathurst Panthers in a must win game against Blayney, if the team wants to claim second position.
GAME ON: Doug Hewitt will lead Bathurst Panthers in a must win game against Blayney, if the team wants to claim second position.

In a sign of how close this season’s Group 10 premier league competition has been, Bathurst Panthers could finish as high as second and as low as fourth come Sunday afternoon, depending on other results.

Panthers host bottom-placed Blayney Bears at Carrington Park on Sunday and if they win, will have to wait on other results to know where the club will finish the regular season. 

Panthers are currently sitting in fourth but if Orange Hawks and Orange CYMS fail to win itheir games against Mudgee Dragons and St Pat’s respectively, Panthers will jump both Orange teams.

The scenario is just too close to call. 

Doug Hewitt knows there’s plenty to play for on Sunday afternoon, so he’s side can’t be complacent against a Bears outfit that have only won two games all season.

“We’ve got a fair bit to play for so hopefully complacency doesn’t become a problem,” he said. 

“If a couple of results go our way, we need to be ready to pounce on that for sure.”

Panthers last played Blayney in June and were fortunate to walk away from King George Oval with a victory.

However, after performances in recent weeks, Hewitt is confident his side can have a much better outing against Blayney. 

“Our sets are flowing a bit smoother. It’s just the little one per center things we’ve improved on, like talking from the back and getting our sets off to a good start,” he said.

“Last week, once we got good ball out, our game was much smoother. We weren’t panicking. 

“If we can start our sets well against Blayney, we can go a long way to getting the right result.

“Last game against Blayney, they jumped as at the start and had us on the back foot for most of the game. We ended up just getting the win in the end.”

Hewitt said it’s good to have already wrapped up a finals spot before the find round of the regular season, saying the boys have stopped worrying about making the finals and are now focused on making sure they are ready for the play-offs. 

“The boys are happy, not worry about results and whether we’ll make the finals or not.”

If Panthers can finish in either second or third, they would be guaranteed a second chance if they lost their first finals match the following weekend.  

Oberon Tigers are guaranteed to finish in fifth, while Cowra, Hawks and CYMS could all claim the minor premiership title. 

Cowra can only finish as low as third, while Hawks and CYMS could drop as far down the ladder as fourth. 

If Blayney do win, they would only move up to eighth position, only if Lithgow Workies fail to defeated Cowra. 

Panthers claimed a 36-18 last weekend against Lithgow Workies win without Blake Seager, who returns to the starting line-up this Sunday, slotting into the second row. 

Kick-off is at 1.45pm.