Magpies take aim at grand final spot

Ruckman Will Rowbottom is expected to go head-to-head with Saints counterpart Jeremy Hausler in tomorrow’s semi-final.

CAMPERDOWN’S senior football side may have an almighty task ahead of them, but coach Phil Carse is confident his players are ready for the challenge.

The Magpies take on four-time reigning premier Koroit in the Hampden league’s second semi-final tomorrow, with the victor set to earn a grand final berth.

Carse said Koroit were the “benchmark of the competition” but had shown even the mightiest can fall, having lost games across the season.

“They’ve won the last four premierships and have been comfortably the best side this year,” he said.

“They do most areas of the game exceptionally well from skills to playing their roles.

“But they have shown that they are beatable over the last four years.”

Key forward Nick Bateman (left) kicked two goals in the Magpies’ qualifying final triumph last weekend.

The Saints have won both clashes between the two sides this season, cruising to comfortable victories in round six and 15.

The first outing saw the Magpies stay within striking distance of Koroit throughout the first half before the Saints pulled ahead late to win 15.8 (98) to 5.11 (41).

The most recent encounter was a more one-sided affair, with Camperdown failing to kick a goal in the first half as Koroit won 16.9 (105) to 3.7 (25).

In those games, Koroit’s ability to win the ball on the inside and then use it well by foot on the outside hurt Camperdown and has Carse wary ahead of tomorrow’s clash.

“They’re really good at contested footy and they hit their skills better than any other team in the competition,” he said.

For his side however, Carse said the key to victory would come down to a strong defensive effort before hurting the Saints the opposite way.

“When we play our best footy, we defend really well,” he said.

“And we pride ourselves on our ability to get the ball on the outside and use our spread.”

Luke Mahony has proven to be an important cog in the Magpies’ wheel.

The Magpies produced a gutsy performance in last weekend’s qualifying final against Port Fairy, with the victory their fourth win in as many matches.

Importantly, the confidence and belief gained from recent form has Carse’s side primed for tomorrow’s first bounce.

“Everything is positive at the moment,” he said.

“There’s obviously a terrific feeling in the group.

“We’ve had the taste of finals success and there is a real hunger in the group now.”

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