HIS team’s won 13 matches from 14 starts and is assured a final series place.
Yet Goulburn Swans coach Steve Armstrong is treating every game as mustwin.
Goulburn maintained a one game buffer from ANU in the race for AFL Canberra’s Division 3 minor premiership with a 93- point victory over Gungahlin at Kenmore on Saturday.
The hosts were without two time league best-and-fairest Dale Cummins, key defender Andrew Mewburn, captain Ben Conway and leading goal scorer Adam Wilson.
Others stepped up their absence.
Steve Dawson, Simon Treloar and Brad Armstrong each bagged three goals as the Swans brushed aside wayward first quarter kicking.
Goulburn converted three chances from 13 attempts in the opening quarter. They punted 11 goals from 12 shots in the second.
“Our issue was a congested forward line,” the coach said.
“They deliberately tried to clog our forward 50. Once we got through that first quarter, everything was positive.”
The win was percentage-boosting, confidence building and best of all, injury free.
Midfielder Luke Langbein scooped the players’ player award while the effort of first year defender Billy Underwood drew the coach’s praise.
Sam Ash, Simon Treloar, Sam Buchannan, Scott Fleming and Cameron Lawson excelled.
“We needed to get through that game and make sure our percentage goes up,” Armstrong continued.
“Gungahlin played well in patches.
Sometimes it’s difficult when you’re playing one of those bottom sides. It’s hard trying to keep blokes interested when the score’s like that and it’s congested.
“We did well.”
The Swans can expect a sterner test against top five contender ADFA at the same venue on Saturday.
Each game between now and the regular season finish is important. The minor premier is awarded a week’s rest at the beginning of the final series.
The Swans’ run home is difficult.
Armstrong expects to be down troops for a round 17 match with Belconnen, while a tricky road trip to Cootamundra is in the diary for August 10.
Goulburn runs the risk of vacating top spot should they lose two of those three.
“We’re watching the rest of the competition closely,” Armstrong said.
“At the moment, it’s about managing these last three games.”