SWFL: Last go for flag defence

RILEY STUARTSouth Western Times

After inconsistent seasons, Bunbury coach Ryan Pitts and his Busselton counterpart Greg Hodson have stopped short of saying their teams deserve to be in the finals.

But they are both desperate to make it anyway.

Ahead of the final round of home and away fixtures, the Bulldogs (fifth) and Busselton (sixth) are the major finals variable.

Bunbury can seal September action with a win over Donnybrook.

But if they lose, and Busselton defeat the Collie Eagles, the Magpies will snatch fifth place.

“We’ve been really inconsistent and I think a lot of teams have been in the same boat,” Pitts said.

“A finals berth would be fantastic but if we weren’t to win this week we could look at it and say we probably weren’t good enough.”

In round nine the Collie Eagles defeated Busselton by 13 points while the Dons downed Bunbury by 10 points.

The Magpies have lost their past four games to tumble from third to sixth.

“Our form of late has not been good but there’s still a glimmer of hope,” Hodson said.

“The guys haven’t given things away.

“We’ve been lucky off the field. The things we can’t control are the things which are going our way at the moment.

“We want to carry on. We don’t want it to finish this weekend.

“We want to have a crack at defending our premiership.

“There would be nothing worse than finishing on top last year and then not make the finals the next year, it doesn’t look good for them and good for me.

“We thought we were going to be in the finals but all of a sudden the wheels have fallen off and we’re outside the five.”

Pitts flagged as many as five inclusions — headlined by midfielder Liam McGuire — in his Bulldogs team which lost to Harvey by six points on Sunday.

Bunbury will be aiming to regain the Peter Betti Cup at Payne Park.

Betti had a four-decade involvement in the South West football community and coached six different clubs for four premierships before his death in 2004.

He coached the SWFL at the Landmark Country Football Championships nine times and played 303 league games — 259 at Donnybrook where he captained and coached the club’s maiden premiership in 1977.

He also coached Bunbury to three flags in 1982-83 and 2001.

Pitts said Betti had done “great things” at both clubs.

“We do a fundraising event for it — it’s a head shave organised by Jason Treasure — and that’s going to be held after the game,” he said.

“We like to make sure we put our best foot forward for these cup games and this week will be no exception.”

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