PFNL 2018: Baldivis counting on ‘lessons learned’ ahead of top-three clash with Rams

Baldivis will be leaning on lessons learned from a previous encounter when it meets with Rockingham in a top-three clash at Anniversary Park this Saturday.

The two league heavyweights last met at Baldivis Oval in round five, in a clash befitting that of what was a top-two battle at the time.

The Brumbies were forced to grind out a five-point win over Rockingham in that blockbuster, after being “jumped” by an aggressive Rams midfield that found the contested ball just as well as they ran it out in open space.

Baldivis coach Craig Hamersley is looking to avoid any surprises this time around, saying his team learned a lot from their first showdown with the Rams.

“Going in we knew they were quick, but we didn’t really anticipate they’d win as many clearances as they did,” he said.

“We were pretty annoyed that we let ourselves get jumped like that, so we’ll keep that fresh in our minds ahead of this Saturday.”

The Brumbies will be without smooth-mover Callum Black, but Hamersley insists his side is focusing on that clearance battle first and foremost.

“We have a damaging midfield, but overall clearances haven’t really been a strength of our’s this year,” he said.

“This is a massive test for us so if we can win the ball inside and give our forwards first go, we should be in a good spot.”

Key match-up

Rockingham forwards v Baldivis defenders

Baldivis plays their best footy when they can use their backline as a rebounding weapon rather than a road block for opposing forwards, so it’s going to be interesting to see how Rockingham make them earn their opportunities.

Rams forward Luke Dowling has the potential to be a difference maker here, with speed and skill that could make Baldivis defenders like Sam Barndon and Sam Eccles accountable, rather than letting them bounce off half back.

Spectators should have the chance to see some really interesting one on one battles in this patch of the game.

Something to watch for…

The size of the oval.

I know that sounds farcical, but it’s going to make a difference.

Baldivis call the smallest oval in the league home and they play it superbly, but now they’ve got to take on the fast-paced Rams on their home deck, which happens to be the largest in the Peel Football and Netball League.

But the Brumbies will at least take heart knowing Pinjarra was able to topple the Rams at Anniversary Park a fortnight ago.

The fixture

Anniversary Park, Saturday, 3.30pm