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GNFL Round 11 preview: Chapman Valley in last chance saloon ahead of Railways clash

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Richard Bartleet for Chapman Valley when they last beat Railways.
Camera IconRichard Bartleet for Chapman Valley when they last beat Railways. Credit: Justine Rowe Around the Traps

This time last season Chapman Valley stunned Railways to spark a run of four wins in their last six games, including a victory over eventual premiers Rovers.

If they are to break their GNFL finals drought this year, they will need to pull off a similar upset against the same opposition this weekend in another round 11 clash, with their finals hopes hanging by a thread.

The Royals have a 3-5 record and are one game behind the stuttering Rovers in the battle for fourth, the last remaining finals spot.

If they are to steal that last spot away from the Demons, they will have to win all of their last four games, but for now coach Aaron Thomas is focusing on this weekend.

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“All we can do is worry about what’s in front of us. If you worry about four weeks in front, you lose sight of what’s wrong in your lap, so we just have to win this week and then see what happens,” he said.

The Royals lowered their colours when they last met the Blues in a 109-point thumping, with Jack Cocking and Jesse Adamini kicking 11 goals between them.

“That was a horrendous day for our group of boys; they didn’t come to play and that’s what happens against good opposition if you don’t turn up,” Thomas said.

“They should have a bit ticker this week and hope to bounce back, but it’s all in their control now.”

The Royals have not played in two weeks, with their bye scheduled directly after the country week general bye, but they did win last time against Mullewa, with Thomas himself pulling on the boots to kick four goals.

“I certainly don’t have any league games left in me,” he joked.

“We had five colts guys in our side that week and we lacked a bit of experience, so I was there to mainly guide and help out but I definitely won’t be back this week.

“Bye weeks can be hard to read, especially having a double, and the fixturing this year has not helped us.”

Along with some harsh fixturing, the Royals have also been hurt by the loss of some key players.

“We’ve lost two great midfielders this year: Brett Robinson with a broken hand and Lee Hutchins, who moved to Melbourne,” he said.

“We’ve got a couple of other niggling injuries so we won’t be at full strength.”

However, Thomas said the belief was still there among the group.

“I hate that saying, one week at a time, but it’s so true, especially in our situation. Last year we came home like a wet sail and just fell short, but if we put in a good performance this weekend we can see where it takes us,” he said.

In the other games of the round, Rovers will look to right the ship after two heavy losses against a beleaguered Mullewa, who upset the Demons last time they hosted them.

Brigades should win easily against Towns, but will hope to fix their accuracy issues which plagued them last week.

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