Gordon still confident of playing finals footy despite loss to Eastwood

Gordon coach Darren Coleman said he’s 100% sure his side can book a spot in the Shute Shield finals, less than a year after finishing the 2018 season with the wooden spoon. 

The six placed Stags couldn’t match it with competition frontrunners Eastwood at TG Millner on Saturday, but Coleman said there were still lots of positives to take from the loss. 

“It was a frustrating afternoon because we thought it was a game we could have won. Eastwood were just a little more clinical at set piece and with their exits,” the coach said. 

“In saying that, our attack troubled them at times and we had quite a few good passages of ball movement and continuity. 

“When we played them earlier this year, we never really troubled their defence, so I guess that shows we’re progressing as a side.” 

Eastwood assistant coach Andrew Clyne agreed that his side won the big moments in the game. 

“I thought we played well with the breeze in the second half. Our scrum and line out was good and we scored some nice individual tries through Enoka (Muliufi) and Barton (Picone).”

The Woodies are in a four way battle for the minor premiership and play West Harbour, Southern Districts and Easts in the final three rounds. 

They may be without star playmaker Tayler Adams for some or all of those matches after he left the field late in the game with an ankle injury. 

Clyne said the Eastwood camp was still waiting for news on Adams’ injury but said they had other areas of their game to focus on. 

“Our work at the breakdown still needs to get better, particularly come finals time. We’re giving away far too much ball at the moment.” 

While Eastwood are assured of a match on the opening weekend of the finals, Gordon will need to win their final three matches to guarantee a spot in the playoffs. 

The Stags play Norths, Easts and Western Sydney in their final three games, with the match against seventh placed Easts’ particularly crucial. 

“We’re in sixth now so we control our own destiny,” Coleman said. 

“We’ll need to beat some hard teams to get to the finals, but if you do get there you don’t just want to be making up the numbers, so it’s a positive in my eyes.”

“We were disappointed with Saturday, so that will put some fire in the bellies of the guys looking ahead to a big few weeks before the playoffs.”

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