THE fairytale run of Parkes Cobras FC through the Western Premier League finals series has been something to behold, but Panorama FC are making it their mission to bring that to a stop this Saturday.
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The two sides come together at Proctor Park to decide who gets to face Orange Waratahs the following weekend in the competition's grand final.
Panorama get a second chance to reach the decider after going down 3-2 to Waratahs in a thriller at Orange last Sunday while the Cobras are on a magical run after winning two successive penalty shoot outs in sudden death matches.
The Goats could have found themselves heading towards a shoot out of their own if not for a stunning late goal to Waratahs' Bastien Fougerolle deep into injury time.
Such a result was naturally a tough thing for Panorama to take at the time but upon reflection the team have been feeling upbeat about their approach to that match, which lived up to its billing as a grand final qualifier.
Panorama co-coach Ricky Guihot said last weekend's result should serve as a confidence builder, not a blow, for his squad.
"I told the boys as they walked off the pitch that there was no disgrace in that result. Tahs get to host the grand final, we have to cop that on the chin, but there's nothing wrong with the way they played," he said.
"It was a game that was decided in the 96th minute between two good teams who played really good football on a pitch that probably wasn't conducive to the style of football that they play.
"You ask for absolute effort and to execute a game plan. They go out there and do both, so what more can you ask for? It's just the way football is."
Guihot believes similar attitudes and execution for the meeting with Cobras will go a long way towards earning success.
"You've still got to find another little level because these guys are coming into this game off some of their best results of the season," he said.
"Ever since Parkes beat us over there on a Thursday night they've been a juggernaut. I've heard them referred to as the 'Giant Killers'. If we don't prepare and don't take chances they're a team that can hurt us.
"They've got, in my opinion, two of the best players in the competition with Alec Bateson and Mitch Hutchings. But I still believe we're the best team in the competition, and when the boys are on they play the best football in the comp."
Since Panorama's loss to Parkes in that midweek match the Cobras have gone on to win six of their next eight games.
"When you get on a run like that, from sixth, it's easy to stay upbeat," Guihot said.
"They come here still as underdogs but they're on a run of wins and we're coming off a loss. If we don't perform then we'll find ourselves barrelled out ... but I've got faith in our guys.
"I'm comfortable with where we're at and I'm confident they're ready.
"We couldn't train on Thursday night so we caught up for a few beers, something to eat and the boys were able to have a good laugh together. You're not reinventing the wheel at this point of the season so it's just about being physically and mentally ready to play."
The preliminary final kicks off at 3pm.
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