AFL: "Eliminators" now face prospect of elimination
HERVEY Bay Bombers prepared for its local derby clash with Bay Power on July 6 with one mission: eliminate their cross-town rivals from the finals hunt.
Now, two games and three weeks later, it is the Bombers that finds itself in an unenviable position.
After losses to the Power (14 points) and Maroochydore Roos (nine points), the Bombers are now in the firing line as the race to the final four heats up.
"I think I put the mocker on us," coach Tony Potter said earlier this week.
"The Power game was a bad start, but (Saturday's loss to Maroochydore) I think we were undermanned."
It didn't help Potter that leading men like Luke O'Toole, Scott Clark, Cameron McKay, and Ryan Vagne were unavailable for various reasons.
Not that it is an excuse.
While Potter conceded his undermanned team were outgunned by a roster he said included several Division 2 starters, the Bombers coach refuses to use that as a reason.
The mentor, who took on the role as Bombers coach earlier this year, has always believed it is the men on the field on the day who have to get the job done.
The reality facing Potter's men this week is in stark contrast to that of three weeks ago.
Potter wanted his troops to attack the Power with an "eliminators" mantra.
His idea was the Bombers would attack all remaining games, which included last Saturday's loss to Maroochydore, this week's clash with Pomona and what could be a last-round blockbuster against Across The Waves, with the intent to remove each team from finals contention.
That mentality, had it worked, should have also led to a Bombers' minor premiership.
The QFA Wide Bay Sunshine Coast finals picture is markedly different now.
Should Maroochydore beat ATW at home on Saturday, it will move into first and most likely win the minor premiership, while ATW's top four chances will evaporate.
If ATW were to win, it would mean the NE Mclean Oval match between the Bombers and ATW would be a winner-take-all encounter.
The Power is not yet out of the woods.
Bay Power must beat Pomona this week to secure its place in the top four.
The last thing Michael Gay's men will want is the prospect of a must-win game against current competition leaders Brothers Bulldogs, at Bundaberg.
Maroochydore is scheduled to travel to Pomona in the last week, and should win comfortably based on previous results.
FIVE INTO THE TOP FOUR
1st. Brothers Bulldogs (38 points, 138.86%): Bye, Bay Power (H).
2nd. Maroochydore Roos (34 points, 176.79%): Across The Waves (H), Pomona (A).
3rd: Bay Power (30 points, 104.63%): Gympie (H), Brothers Bulldogs (A).
4th: Hervey Bay Bombers (28 points, 113.89%): Pomona (H), Across The Waves (H).
5th: Across The Waves (26 points, 124.67%): Maroochydore Roos (A), Hervey Bay Bombers (A).