By: Joseph Arthur
KNOX has found itself in a rare position among most clubs; only two wins and percentage out of a finals position and yet currently sits on the bottom of the ladder under threat of relegation.
At four wins and eight losses for the year, the Falcons have been up and down, with wins against top five sides such as Bayswater last week, paired with losses to teams outside the five such as Mooroolbark.
With the crunch-time of the season fast approaching, teams are gearing up for finals and for those teams on the outside looking in, the time to make a final push for the top five is now.
Senior coach Dave Madigan said he understands his side has been inconsistent, however wins like those against Bayswater are the kind of efforts that show just how good his team can be.
“We’ve probably been our own worst enemies at times in first quarters and been really wasteful with our opportunities in front of goal and we were a bit like that (last Saturday) and it nearly cost us again,” Madigan said.
“When you’ve got the game on your terms and you’re creating those opportunities and shots on goal you’ve got to take them, because you’re not going to have it on your terms all day.
“We’ve beaten some of the teams in the top four and played some really good footy against them and if we make the finals we probably think we’ll give them a decent shake, but we also might get relegated, that’s the reality of the competition, it’s unbelievable.”
Madigan spoke of some changes he made in the lead-up to the Bayswater clash that worked in Knox’s favour.
However, he said ultimately it’s up to the boys to go out there and give it their all for an entire game week in and week out; otherwise the consistency will never quite be there.
“We probably tweaked a few things during the week, structurally, that we thought might give us a better opportunity,” Madigan said.
“We’d been doing the same thing and it wasn’t working for us so we changed a couple of things up.
“The results every Saturday, it’s a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.
“Your guys have got to get out of the car expecting to win, but also be willing to give that four quarter effort because if you don’t you leave yourself open.”
What has kept Knox alive this season, granting the club not only a chance at avoiding relegation but a chance to make a late finals charge, is the evenness of the competition.
Madigan credited the increase in overall coaching and playing standards as a catalyst for the high levels of competitiveness throughout Division 1.
“The standard of coaching and the standard of play in the competition has increased, it’s just really good footy,” Madigan said.
“I know they’re (opposition coaches) all doing a heap of work looking at vision of opposition and really planning out how they’re going to attack.
“I think that’s really lifted the quality of football to another level and we’re talking about some really switched on footy brains.”
With a match-up this week against East Ringwood, who sit equal last, Knox will need to bring its best footy, or risk potentially counting themselves out for the rest of the year.
Madigan said his team is prepared and in the right frame of mind to build on the momentum of last week’s win and come to play.
“We played some of our best football for the year on the weekend and I think it’s the manner in which the boys went about preparing for the game and keeping that belief in themselves,” Madigan said.
“They’re (East Ringwood) a side who on their day can beat anyone, as they’ve shown recently, so it’s another big one and another big challenge for us.”