It’s a critical round three matchup for De La this week as they square up to Old Melburnians at Sportscover Arena.

The Dees know they can’t afford to drop a third straight game after a home loss to St. Kevin’s. Head Coach Paul Satterley is still looking for the consistent play he knows his team are capable of.

“We were pretty disappointed to be honest with how the whole game unfolded,” Satterley said about the St Kevin’s loss. “I thought we were competitive in the first quarter, but the second was really below par from what we were expecting from the lads.”

“Having said that, we were well and truly in the game at halftime and if not for some really poor finishing in the third quarter we could well have been in front – we missed three goals from 15-20 out in front, so we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

“Watching the game back I think the scoreboard (a four goal loss) flattered us, we didn’t play that well at all.”

This week the Dees will be turned loose onto the wide open spaces of Sportscover Arena, where teams with speed and run always prosper. Satterley welcomes back two big names to give his side a welcome boost.

“Our backline has been super so far, but unfortunately to this point our midfield has copped a bit of a beating which is hurting us in the clearances – we’re just not getting first hands on the ball and not making the most of our scoring opportunities,” Satterley said.

Help is arriving in the form of ruckman Antony Ferato and key forward Sam Pickett (De La’s leading goal kicker in 2016) who play their first games for 2017.

“Ant is really important for us,” Satterley said. “Having these ins doesn’t automatically mean things are going to happen, but having two really confident players in their roles helps us a long way.”

Old Melburnians are yet to post a win, with a round one ‘abandoned draw’ at Beaumaris followed by a three point defeat to Xavs.

“OM’s have always been a tough and combative side, you certainly earn your kicks against them,” Satterley said.

“They had every right to win last week so I expect they’ll be feeling confident. We’ll have our hands full, so we need to get our game up and going quickly.”

Satterley is under no illusions about how important this game is for De La’s 2017 plans.

“Sitting zip and three, you’re already starting to lose touch with the top four. This is a massive game for us.”

“We trained on the Tuesday ANZAC day holiday, which is out of the ordinary for us. It’s a really good sign that we want to turn things around and preparing as well as we can, hopefully that translates into some better footy.”

De La’s must-win round three game kicks off at 2pm this Saturday 29 April at Sportscover Arena in Elsternwick.