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Essendon Mazda Coach’s Comment: Battiato ready for second-half season challenges

Essendon Royals Senior Women’s Coach Vince Battiato is delighted with how his team has responded to the defensive tactic employed against his side in recent weeks.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve had to go out and be put in situations in the game that we haven’t seen yet,” Battiato said.

“The opposition are sitting deep and trying to prevent us from playing and we’ve been good enough to adapt to the situation and still get the points on the board.”

Battiato expects a tough game against Elwood City on Friday despite the 0-9 victory they had against them in round one as he believes they would have improved through the nine weeks that have passed.

Battiato said he expects Elwood City will have developed a better understanding of the way his side like to play football since their last encounter.

“You know, we don’t expect to go out and put nine past them again, we expect a much tougher opposition,” he said.

The Royals sit in second courtesy of having played a game more than third-placed Spring Hills Stallions.

Battiato understands that Spring Hills are strong favourites to walk away from their game in hand against Craigieburn with all three points, making the game against Elwood even more important to win as his side looks to maintain second spot on the table.

Battiato said he prefers to have the points on the board as it gives them the phycological advantage heading into the game against them next week.

“The bottom line is we know that there’s a 99% chance unless there’s some kind of disaster that Spring Hills will win that game against the bottom side, Craigieburn,” Battiato explained.

“If we win this weekend, and Spring Hills – who have a much tougher match against Bundoora, a team they struggled against in round one winning with a last-minute penalty – also win, then certainly there’s a psychological advantage for us when we play Spring Hills next week.

“If Bundoora could do us a minor favour and take a point, or even go and beat Spring Hills, then certainly it’s automatically in our favour, but I think I’d rather have the points on the board than not.”

Battiato was delighted to confirm that Jacinta Da Cruz will come back into the squad after six weeks out with an ankle injury.

He hopes to see her get 45 minutes in the tank as she eases back into the squad.

“The squad is looking alright, we’re looking pretty good, and we will expect to go and get six points across both teams on Friday.”