Queanbeyan Tigers have kept the momentum rolling after clinching their third AFL Canberra first-grade minor premiership in a row.
Their 10.12 (72) to 5.8 (38) victory over Ainslie at Aulich Park on Saturday gave the Tigers the perfect tune-up before next weekend's finals begin, after winning 14 of their 15 matches in the regular season.
"Today really built some confidence for us," Tigers co-coach Adrian Pavese said. "We managed to hold out the game and win with no bench. So it's just about assessing the damage in terms of injury and going from there."
Pavese and co-coach Kade Klemke have had to do it the hard way, with their team plagued with injuries this year. It's resulted in their first-grade side featuring a rolling roster of 40 players.
"We have had 40 this year through the squad which is incredible," Pavese said.
"I have never seen that in all my time coaching first-grade. It's a big season when there's 30 players."
But he said the season starts again next week as they look to defend their triumph last year.
"It has been a good run," Pavese said. "Nothing has been done this year yet. As cliché as it sounds, we still have to work for the next couple of weeks and hopefully see the rewards."
The co-coach said it has been another impressive season for captain Josh Bryce.
"Nothing changes with Josh," Pavese said. "He is one of the best in the competition. He has been our captain for the last five years and he just leads by example every week.
"He doesn't have to step up because he steps up all the time and you become a bit numb to it."
Co-coaching can be hard to manage, but Pavese and Klemke have made it work this season amid all the team's hurdles.
"We complement each other," Pavese said.
"We did it in 2012 where we won the premiership and it's just about complementing each other - if I'm down, he takes over and vice versa."
"Kade is a wonderful coach and it's great to be able to work with him."
AFL Canberra Round 15 - First-grade results
Queanbeyan 10.12 (72) bt Ainslie 5.8 (38)
Gungahlin 13.6 (84) bt Tuggeranong 10.10 (70)
Belconnen 18.12 (120) bt Eastlake 10.4 (64)
Belconnen 5.3 (33) bt Eastlake 2.1 (13)
Ainslie 5.6 (36) bt Queanbeyan 4.2 (26)
Tuggeranong 18.5 (113) bt Gungahlin 0.1 (1)
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