I’M BACK: Bombers ruckman and key position player James Lee joins a long list of returning players for today’s preliminary final.
I’M BACK: Bombers ruckman and key position player James Lee joins a long list of returning players for today’s preliminary final. Valerie Horton

Bombers facing tough task

HERVEY Bay Bombers coach Troy Ignatenko says the lure of another grand final berth has kept his players' minds on the job at hand.

The reigning premiers face off against Brothers Bulldogs at N.E McLean Oval today for the right to play Across The Waves in the AFL Wide Bay grand final next week.

Even though the stakes are high, the game looms as a danger game for the Bombers, having easily disposed of the Bulldogs to the tune of 86 points last week.

The Bombers have beaten the Bulldogs in all five contests this season by an average of 68 points, but Ignatenko said the past was irrelevant and all that mattered was today's game.

"We've been stressing that this is finals time and that it's full steam ahead and don't take the foot off the pedal," he said.

"It's hard not to think about what's on the line, but what we've done at training on Tuesday and Thursday is talk about the motivation to get into the grand final.

"If we don't perform and win than the whole year, starting from January, has been a waste."

The Bombers have been buoyed by the inclusion of quality players Ian Dunbar, Brad Richards, James Lee and Brent Dean, but the Bulldogs are also set to recall some of their key players who missed last week's match, including their skipper Jamieson Webb.

With both teams at almost full strength, Ignatenko expected a tough-fought battle from start to finish.

"They're a good club and always put up a decent fight," Ignatenko said of today's opposition.

"The team that is the most desperate and burrows in and win the hard ball will win."

Today's match is also the Bombers' final home game of the season.

PRELIMINARY FINALS

U15: Brothers v Bay Power, 9am

U17: ATW v Bay Power, 10.30am

Reserves: Brothers v ATW, 12.30PM

Seniors: Bombers v Brothers, 2pm



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