Door ajar for Drouin

THE door is open for Drouin to sneak into the Gippsland League top five this weekend.

Warragul’s loss to Leongatha in the first game of the split round at the weekend gives the Hawks, who trail the Gulls by two points on the ladder, a clear window to leapfrog into the finals frame this weekend.

A win over Morwell would put Drouin into the top five for the first time this season and could put it as high as fourth should Wonthaggi lose to Traralgon.

Last time the Hawks met the Tigers the points were shared in an 11.9 (75) draw – the first on record between the two sides.

Drouin had to rally late to salvage two points from that clash, but will be looking for all four as it surges toward the post-season.

“We’ve been building toward this sort of scenario and it’s panned out that way which is great for us,” Drouin coach Bob McCallum said.

“We’re not (taking Morwell lightly). You look at their past record, not just with us, but beating Traralgon and having a few scalps under their belt.

“Even being on the bottom of the ladder they’re not someone you can take lightly any week, so we’ll be looking to do the basic things very well and go from there.

“It’s a big game and we’ll be up for it.”

With matches against the Power, Sale and ladder leader Leongatha to come in the run home, this week’s match will be pivotal in the context of Drouin’s season.

McCallum said there was no easy match left on the fixture with sides such as Sale posing a threat in spite of ladder position.

“It (our run home) is better than teams like Warragul have got. Obviously we all play the same teams so it just depends on when you play them (on the fixture),” he said.

“Sale is another team like Morwell (which) is hard to really pick at the moment. We know they’ve got some players back from injuries in the first half and seem to be stringing some good games together, so that’s another one that’s a bit of a worry.

“Wonthaggi, we went with them for three quarters last game and lost it in the fourth; that was sort of going through our period of trying to find our feet… we feel like we’re a lot better team than what we were back then so we’ll be hoping for a better showing in that game as well.”

Drouin should welcome back centre half-forward Darcy Irwin, who was a late withdrawal last round with illness following a bag of six against Maffra, and tough on-baller Liam Axford who returns from holidays.

The Hawks still have a number of players sidelined through injury and have struggled for depth in the lower grades, with the reserves fielding 16 at times in recent weeks. But a few are trickling back toward fitness.

“As far as the side we’ll take in, we’re confident that’s one of our best sides all year and we’ll be confident going into that game to win it,” McCallum said.

In other matches Bairnsdale hosts Sale, Wonthaggi plays Traralgon and Moe will be out to keep its fading finals hopes alive against Maffra.