BRUTAL: Raymond Baina gives Alex Ross a throat-full.
BRUTAL: Raymond Baina gives Alex Ross a throat-full. Rob Williams

Defending premiers still have plenty to play for

RUGBY LEAGUE: Fassifern Bombers coach Daniel Roos says his team is not simply making up the numbers for the rest of the season.

Ahead of round 15, the Bombers (20) languish in seventh with seven matches left and unlikely to feature in the finals.

But Roos said his men would still approach every game, including tomorrow's clash with fourth placed Goodna (33), believing they could prevail.

He said the goal would be to steal wins from higher-ranked rivals and disrupt their premiership campaigns as much as possible.

"We're still going out to win," he said. "That's the attitude."

Roos said it was disappointing that the Bombers were out of contention but not unexpected given 13 players from last season's grand final side had moved on.

"We've been rebuilding," he said. "A lot of guys have been given opportunities to gain experience that they may not have otherwise had, which will only help the club in the long-term."

The experienced taskmaster said each individual and the squad as a collective had improved considerably since round one but inconsistency had been its downfall as it drifted in and out of contests.

"We have been a lot better than the results at times would suggest," he said.

"We just need to get the players to believe in and trust themselves, instead of second guessing.

"I can't fault their effort. We're competing but not for the whole 80 minutes. We play well for 20 then fall asleep for 10.

"It comes down to experience and decision making in key moments."

Second rower Jack Wallace has been a shining light for the Bombers. He has collected the players' player award on at least seven occasions.

Facing the Eagles, Fassifern know they need to be willing to match them for physicality and aggression.

Roos said his team missed too many one-on-one tackles when it fell to Goodna 44-24 in round 8 and would need to rectify that statistic if it was to reverse the result.

"We need to turn up and do the one percenters, and put our bodies on the line," Roos said.

"They have power up front and speed out-wide.

"We can't fall asleep and defensively we need to make those one-on-one tackles.

"If we don't turn up with the right attitude, it could be a long day."

The Bombers are without halfback Mitch Range (concussion) and Lamecki Wraight (broken hand).

Fassifern's Reserve Grade outfit is travelling well in third.

Roos said it had been a successful season thus far, with the side in contention for the grand final and many players given opportunities to test themselves in the top grade.

He said the continued development of up-and-coming talent would only serve to strengthen the club overall.

Tom Bushnell