Sport

GVL football: Tatura v Mooroopna preview

By Alex Mitchell

If Tatura wants to make something of its Goulburn Valley League season, it is going to have to lift in a big way - and soon.

While the Bulldogs' four-match losing streak includes losses to big two Kyabram and Echuca, it has also fallen to Rochester and Shepparton United, matches they must have penciled in at the start of the season as they attempted to assert themselves as a genuine top tier power.

Sixth on the ladder and hanging onto a place in finals by a thread, the 7-8 Bulldogs welcome Mooroopna to Tatura Park tomorrow with only a win acceptable to keep their season alive.

But football seasons are 18 rounds for a reason; Tatura coach Jamason Daniels said his side would show it has what it takes to stay the course.

"(The mood) is still pretty good, obviously we haven't been getting the wins, but our start to the season put us in the position where it's not all doom and gloom," he said.

"We've just got to get back to winning games, the last couple of games we've turned things around a bit apart from one quarter in each. As long as we're consistent, we still feel our best football is good enough."

The Bulldogs will have to move forward without an important trio, with Jaydan Thewma, Matt Ryan and Liam Borrelli all out for the year with injury, while Braydon Sutton and Che Walls are out tomorrow.

But Jack Ballantyne and Jonah Vraca will play reserves tomorrow, while impressive form from youngsters such as Morrie Serra, Billy Cooper, Colby McDonald and Jordan O'Dwyer will help carry the side forward.

Tatura took care of Mooroopna by 102 points in round five, but the Cats have turned a corner in the season's late stages and are finally producing consistent competitive football, having beaten rivals Shepparton Swans and Shepparton United in their past two outings.

The Cats' lift has started with its experienced heads, with Trent Freer, Kai Love-Linay and Matt Deane influential, but a team-wide effort has been crucial to their efforts with talents like Ollie McAuliffe and Jack Lear also having their say.

"I think it will be a completely different game, we always expect a tight contest against them, so we need to go out there and play our brand and not get sucked into theirs," Daniels said.

"We hope we can get the job done in similar fashion but we fully expect them to come in with momentum, they've won their last two games.

"It's just been mental lapses for us, our best footy has been there, twice against Rochester we kicked four goals straight and defensively we were generally quite solid against Echuca, we allowed three goals in three quarters."

Tatura is sixth with Rochester 14 per cent behind, while Mansfield and Euroa are only one game behind, although both have just two games left this season.

The Bulldogs face Euroa and Shepparton to close their season, while Rochester has the Swans, United and Benalla.