Last season, Mitch Bower headed into the RSL-Whitney Cup semi-final against Macquarie in the form of his life and his century put South Dubbo into the grand final.
The Hornets and Blues might be meeting in the semi-final again this weekend but Bower isn’t heading in with the same momentum.
He was dismissed for a duck in his side’s final round loss to Newtown and the Souths skipper stated he and his fellow senior players need to lift if the Hornets are to advance to a third straight decider.
For all the talent in the South Dubbo lineup, Bower is aware that his side could have finished higher than third.
“I don’t think we’ve put it together at all,” Bower said of his side’s performances this season.
“We’ve got a lot of firepower that hasn’t come off so hopefully it’s just a matter of time before it comes together.
“I especially look at myself as someone who has to put it together either this weekend or the next one, if we make it, because I’ve had a pretty disappointing season in general and I want to contribute and others do, too.”
While Bower feels he hasn’t been at his best, his Macquarie counterpart knows how dangerous the former NSW Country gun can be.
Bower was one of three Souths players the Blues skipper pointed as danger men in the weekend’s do-or-die clash at No. 1 Oval.
“Souths’ batting is very technical so we’ve got to keep on top of Mitch, Will Lindsay and Henry Railz,” Brien said.
“And then when we bat we’ve got to be aggressive but not take stupid risks.”
This marks the third straight season the Blues and Hornets have met in the finals.
Macquarie claimed the ultimate prize when downing Bower’s men in the grand final in 2015/16 but Souths gained some revenge when winning last season’s semi, only to be beaten by Colts in an amazing grand final.
Since then, Souths has won each of the three RSL-Whitney Cup clashes between the two teams and
“It’s a bit funny because we haven’t beaten Souths but we’ve beaten (minor premiers) Rugby,” Brien said.
“Anyone can beat anyone and semi-finals are completely different so we’ll be backing ourselves.”
Souths also heads into this weekend with confidence, something the Hornets haven’t lacked in recent seasons.
“We’ve never been a side to talk a lot of tactics or game plans but everyone knows what to do and we just enjoy our cricket,” Bower said.
“If we enjoy it we play good cricket and we’ve got the depth there and we know how to win matches.”
While there are a host of explosive batsmen and damaging bowlers ling up this weekend, Bower said it will be smaller things which some people don’t even notice which could decide this weekend’s do-or-die clash with Macquarie.
“Semis and finals are often won on a knife’s edge,” he said.
“Scores don’t often reflect it. It can just be a matter of someone taking a good catch or a diving stop in the field which stops a two or three and that changes momentum and the batsman’s mindset.”
Plays starts 1pm both days.