Momentum in our favour: coach

September 08, 2017

He's staying: James Flaherty has re-signed as Rochester's playing coach, taking him into his fourth year at the club.

Despite signing a new deal to coach again next year Rochester playing coach James Flaherty only has eyes for Sunday’s semi-final against Shepparton.

The Tigers are in ominous form and Flaherty, who has been at the club for three years, is confident his side can go one step closer to featuring in back-to-back grand finals.

‘‘It is a huge game, the boys are up and about after a good win last week and now our attention has fully turned to the game against the Bears,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘It is the second week of finals, we have the momentum coming off a win, while Shepparton needs to build again after that loss to Kyabram.’’

Perry Oliver is staking his claim for a return to the senior side after injuring his quad three weeks ago, while the Tigers, who are at near full-strength, have won 11 of their past 13 games.

‘‘I think that has been what our good run of form has come down to, we have a healthy list, we have an experienced list and a group of blokes who understand what is needed to perform to get to a grand final,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘Experience will play a huge part, we’re ready to go, the boys know what we need to do and we think if we can stop their midfield brigade and stop their small forwards we should have a good chance.’’

The Tigers have the third-best defensive record behind Kyabram and the Bears respectively, however, Flaherty, who is a backman, has seen his side win all 11 games when they have not conceded more than nine goals.

After five rounds the Tigers had let an average of 72.3 points through a game, while in comparison, during the past 13 weeks Flaherty’s side has conceded an average of 60.46 points — including a 116-point loss to the Bombers.

‘‘We started the season off poorly, it wasn’t what we wanted and we probably took ourselves for granted coming off the back of a grand final,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘We had to reassess a few things, we knew we were conceding a fair bit and that shows, we tightened up and our pressure and will to attack the contest have gone a long way to helping us.’’

In what could potentially be Elliot Bowen, Sam Brennan and Heath Aitken’s last game for the club, Flaherty reckons there will be a little extra motivation from the trio.

‘‘Elliott and Sammy were probably some of our better players last week, they have a spring in their step, so I am sure they will dig a little deeper,’’ Flaherty said.

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