Consecutive losses have Stawell on edge before its Wimmera Football League clash against the Horsham Saints.
The Warriors were sitting pretty with three wins and one loss at the end of round four, but losses to Minyip-Murtoa and Warrack Eagles have left the side level with the Saints on three wins and losses a piece.
Stawell coach Tom Eckel said this game is critical in the context of their season.
“This game is a must win,” he said.
“We have to win it to keep our season on track.
“It was a disappointing game last round.”
The Warriors managed only seven goals in their last six quarters before finishing strong with a five goal final quarter against Warrack.
Both sides are coming off a break over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, a rest Eckel said was much needed.
“We probably needed the week off to go over a few things,” he said.
“We assessed where we were at and where we could improve moving forward.”
The Warriors used the week off to rest, with their injury list continuing to grow.
“The break gave us a little bit of time for a few injuries to heal,” Eckel said.
“We have about four guys out at the moment which is frustrating.
“It is starting to become annoying because we can’t get a full team playing consistently together.
“It is hard to get our structures when there are guys coming in and out of the side all the time.
Eckel said Stawell is hopeful of bringing back James Delahunty who has managed just the one game this season.
The Saints and Warriors have played out similar starts to the season, winning and losing to the exact same teams.
Eckel said the Warriors are confident they can take it up to Horsham.
“I think it is important that we stop their run,” he said.
“They will be pretty quick, so we need to try and neglect that.”
Key defender Jackson Dark has been Stawell’s standout to this point of the season and Eckel said he is important to their success on Saturday.
“He is killing it, and has definitely been our best player this year,” he said.
“He is full of confidence at the moment, we could put him anywhere and he would perform.”
Eckel has also enjoyed a strong start to the year, juggling the role of player-coach.
“It has not been the ideal start but I have slowly been adapting to the role and I am starting to get used to it.”
The Warriors travel to Coughlin Park on Saturday and are hoping to celebrate a win at their cabaret function at the Stawell Town Hall later in the evening.