As the Goulburn Geckos prepare to take on competition leaders OCHC this evening, coach Todd Devlin has a very specific goal in mind for his team.
“Our focus is the top two position,” Devlin said.
“We have three games left … this week we play Old Canberrans, the week after that Tuggeranong, and then the week after that Central.
“We play two teams that are above us on the ladder, so if we can win every game from here on in, I think we can finish in the top two.”
Finishing in the top two would have been a long shot had you asked Devlin about it midway through the season.
After round six, the Geckos had two wins and four losses to their name.
13 rounds later, the Geckos are in the midst of an 11 match winning streak (with two byes).
“It’s something we spoke about, that gap between our best game and our worst game,” Devlin said.
“That’s probably the main area we’ve improved. Even when we’re playing bad, we’re still competing and we’re right in the games and we’ve been able to win a lot of tight games in the back end of the year.”
This turnaround in mentality, Devlin said, is due to a change in their training methods.
“I think [it’s] probably a mentality thing,” Devlin said.
“Parts of our training, we’ve worked on different things and tried to work on our strengths and weaknesses.
“I think our defence has probably improved from the start of the year. We were leaking a lot of cheap goals, whereas lately we’ve given away only one or two goals against the top teams in the comp.”
The Geckos will have to maintain their devastating form tonight against OCHC, who are still on top of the ladder and boast 14 wins and only three losses.
However, Goulburn will take heart from the 6-1 result they inflicted on the number one side earlier this year.
The only concern for the Geckos will be their numbers, as Devlin said that they will be missing “four or five guys.”
To compensate for this, Goulburn will have to implement some creative strategies.
“There’s little things tactically we can do,” Devlin said.
“It might mean condensing your defence a little bit, put more players around the ball or little things like that.
“Especially just making sure, if there are guys going in to fill those roles, just making sure they’re confident, they know what the game plan is and what we’re trying to do.”
The match between the Goulburn Geckos and OCHC will take place from 6:30pm on Saturday August 11 at Carter Field, Lyneham.