BATHURST Giants' Aiden Macauley is determined to not just repeat last Central West AFL season's preliminary grand final appearance but go one step further - starting with Saturday's game at home against Dubbo Demons.
Macauley is expecting a cracking contest against a Demons side who appear to have shaken some of their away-game jitters in 2019.
"Dubbo are always a lot harder at home, but they've definitely travelled a lot better this year, so it should definitely be a good game. Still, we didn't want to be going over to Dubbo this weekend," he said.
"With the other final not being on until the next week, hopefully we can get some good support at George Park and give us that edge over Dubbo. It should be really fun to play in front of."
The Demons-Giants matchup over the history of this clash has often been about physicality versus speed.
While that tendency still holds true to a degree, Macauley believes the Giants have managed to up their physicality without sacrificing their pace.
"Dubbo have really been the hard, physical team of the competition. They've always been able to get over us because we have a lot of younger fellas. They tend to out-body us," he said.
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"This year we've been able to beat them with a bit of run on the outside. They chipped us in Dubbo but we got quite a comfortable win back in Bathurst so hopefully we can beat them like that again.
"Most of the boys have been playing together now for the past two years. Dubbo two years ago beat us in the physical stuff but now we're able to put the body back on them as we've developed."
Giants finished in the exact same position on the ladder as last year - third.
Macauley believes there's a much higher value on the 2019 third placing compared to the previous season.
"We were also third last year but I feel like we're playing a lot better than that. We haven't had our strongest team on the paddock for every game, which has hurt us, but any of the top four teams can win it," he said.
"We can push any team on our day and I think this year's been a great year for us."
First bounce at George Park 1 is 2.30pm.