The final round of the Western Zone Premier League may have snuck up on Mitch Bower and his Dubbo team but there is still plenty of motivations heading into Sunday’s match.
Dubbo plays host to Cowra on Sunday, with the winner guaranteed to host the final the following week.
Even if Dubbo is to lose it will still play in the final while a Cowra loss coupled with a Bathurst win over Parkes would see the Mitchell Council side make the trip to No. 1 Oval for the decider.
“It (making the final) has been a goal for us,” Bower said.
“We’re back after Christmas and this game has snuck up on us a bit so it’s not been the ideal preparation but we’ve got to play the cards we’ve been dealt.
“To get a home final would be great, it’s a big thing. We don’t like travelling too much so the more we can stay at home the better.”
With Dubbo not being as organised as it has been in previous times, a number of players are unavailable for this weekend’s match.
Jordan Moran is out on NSW Country duty while Brock Larance and Will Lindsay will also miss out and Bower confessed Greg Buckley is no certainty to play either.
Late on Friday afternoon, Bower admitted his squad of 12 still wasn’t complete.
“We could have been more prepared a little but it is what it is,” Bower said.
“We’ve still got a lot of good players and so do they but we’ll be backing ourselves. We don’t have to travel either so there’s a few little positives for us.”
With a number of players missing, Sunday’s match will give some of the younger members of the squad a chance to shine.
Bower pointed to the likes of Henry Railz, Thomas Nelson and Tom Atlee as players who may get more of a chance than they normally would.
“It’s a chance for them to step up and take the reins,” Bower said.
RSL-Colts pair Darrel Williams and Ben Semmler, as well as Souths wicketkeeper Corey McDean are also likely to start for Dubbo.
Dubbo and Cowra have been the two form sides in this season’s rain-affected WZPL.
Cowra has been forced to settle for two draws from the first four rounds while one of Dubbo’s games didn’t go ahead.
Despite the lack of cricket played, Bower knows the strengths Cowra possesses in the shape of Berry brother Nick and Tim and fellow former Western Zone star Mick Curtale.
“I’ve played with and against them for years,” Bower said.
“They’re a good side. You know what you’re going to get and they all give chances but you’ve got to take those chances.”
Sunday’s final round match at No. 1 Oval starts at 10am.