WITH his squad returning to full strength, Griffith Swans reserve grade player-coach Dave Dunbar hopes to surprise a few rivals when the Riverina Football League finals begin.
The Swans take on Mangoplah CUE in an elimination play-off at Narrandera on Sunday, a game Dunbar expects his players to make a statement in.
“We’re really hungry to win this one on Sunday,” Dunbar said.
“We’ve sort of come fifth the last couple of years, so we want to take that next step.
“We’re just starting to hit our straps now, and the boys are looking pretty good.”
The Swans didn’t secure their spot in the finals until the last game of the season when they scored a thrilling 9.2 (56) to 6.13 (49) victory over Collingullie AK.
Seeing that type of determination from his players was heartening for Dunbar, who rates Sunday’s opponent one of the two best teams in the competition.
Last time the sides met in round 14, it was Mangoplah CUE prevailing 13.11 (89) to 4.7 (31).
“I probably rate them second after the Wagga Tigers,” Dunbar said of Mangoplah CUE.
“They’re probably not the best team to come up against, but we’ve got to beat every team to make the grand final.
“We may as well knock them off early and get them out of the way. Given the large size of the Narrandera oval, Dunbar believes the performance of each team’s midfield will have a significant bearing on the result.
“They (Mangoplah CUE) are a young and quick side, but we’re starting to get all our quick blokes back, like Kieran Hume,” he said.
“It’s a big ground at Narrandera.
“I think we’ll turn out to be quite evenly matched and it should be a pretty good game.”