It has been a testing few weeks for Shepparton Gators.
After trips to Warrnambool and Melbourne the side finally returns home for a clash against Geelong Supercats at Shepparton Sports Stadium tonight.
But that does not mark the end of difficult fixturing.
Leigh Bathman’s squad can’t expend all its energy tonight, with an exhausting game to come tomorrow in a double-header.
The Gators will be back on the road to meet Chelsea Gulls, the side sitting a spot below them in third place.
‘‘This is the third weekend on the road and then it’ll be four in a row after next week (when the Gators play away to Warrandyte) so the boys are a bit heavy in the legs, so we’ve lightened up training as much as we can do,’’ Bathman said.
But the focus will stay on tonight until the job against Geelong is complete.
‘‘Geelong will be a tricky match-up, we’ve got much more size and experience than them, but they’ll play a million miles an hour so the last thing we need is to chase them around before Sunday,’’ Bathman said.
Not only concerned about keeping players fresh for tomorrow’s contest with the Gulls, Bathman wants to ensure his squad does not play at a frenetic pace in order to minimise the chance of turnovers.
‘‘That’s the challenge, we need to play more composed and at the tempo that suits us more than them,’’ he said.
‘‘We like to think we’ve got the ability to do that, but in recent weeks we haven’t been as composed as we would have liked.’’
The Supercats are a difficult opposition, with an even spread of scorers meaning not one sole star can be targeted.
But the damaging man in Chelsea’s line-up is clear with Corey Standerfer the Gulls’ most dominant player.
‘‘They’re a tough team to beat, they have a really good first two or three guys and the rest of their group is solid, they’ve got a bit more size on us, so it’ll be an interesting challenge to see if we can come out on the right side of it,’’ Bathman said.
The Gulls will be completing their own double-header tomorrow, after a contest against Collingwood tonight.
Tip off at Shepparton Sports Stadium for the Shepparton Gators match against Geelong Supercats is at 7.30pm.