THIS Sunday's meeting with Orange Hawks could be one that St Pat's end up looking back on a lot towards the end of the season - but whether it's for the right or wrong reason remains to be seen.
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Saints play host to the Hawks at Jack Arrow Oval, and find themselves in a position to jump their Orange opponents should this weekend's match end up in their favour.
Pat's could have been playing to defend fourth spot on the Group 10 side of the table - instead of chasing it - had they managed to convert a late scoring opportunity in their 20-14 loss to Mudgee Dragons last week.
Pat's lock Aaron Mawhinney said the team still have a positive outlook on the way the opening half of the season has played out, even with the results not playing out the way they wanted.
"Spirits are still definitely high in the squad. Mudgee are a quality side and that's the reason why they're sitting in first," he said.
"I wouldn't say that we were unlucky. It was a really good game and a couple of little things just didn't go our way, and that was the end result. It feels really good though to know that we can match it with one of the top sides.
"The boys are all still very hopeful that we can get the job done. We just dropped the ball a couple of times which has set us back a bit, but spirits are still high."
Pat's are preparing for back-to-back meetings with the competition's Orange teams, Hawks and CYMS, in what's a testing week of football.
Mawhinney feels that the Saints are prepared for the challenge.
"I think we're starting to hit our straps now. Going into the back end of the season we're playing a good style of footy, we have full faith on our halves and the way that they're shifting the ball around the park," he said.
"We can play some good footy off the back of that, so we're very happy with the squad."
Hawks also come into the game off an encouraging performance in defeat, having gone down 19-12 to Bathurst Panthers the previous weekend.
Mawhinney believes that a level of play similar to the loss against Dragons will put Pat's in a position to be successful against Hawks.
"We set a bit of platform and standard for our squad from our game against Mudgee. That's close to the level of football we want for ourselves over the back end of the season. I think we can come home pretty strong," he said.
"I'm not too sure what to expect from Hawks but they're a tough side who always compete. From 1-17 they play for each other, as do we, and I think it'll be a great matchup."
Kick-off is Sunday 2.15pm.
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