The Wollongong Hawks are confident they won't be ambushed by a desperate Townsville tonight in north Queensland.
Townsville (8-16) have lost their past four matches and need to win all four of their remaining games to have any chance of snatching a semi-finals berth.
"We expect them to be aggressive and desperate," Hawks' enforcer Dave Gruber said yesterday.
"They'll definitely be looking to go on the front foot and throw the first punch, and we have to be ready for that and weather the storm."
The Hawks (11-14) have beaten the Crocs by 18 and 24 in Wollongong and lost by eight in Townsville.
"This is the time when teams are ramping up their play to get ready for the playoffs, so we need to match that intensity if we hope to get out of there with a win. We need to be ready for everything they throw at us."
Hawks guard Adris Deleon missed training during the week because of the flu, while captain Oscar Forman tweaked his ankle on Thursday. Both have declared themselves certain starters.
"We had a good week of preparations and good, intense trainings," Gruber said.
"They've got a good playmaker in Gary [Ervin], they've got good shooters, they've got size with [Luke] Nevill, [Jacob] Holmes is a good rebounder, so we know they've got weapons.
"The positive for us is that our destiny is in our hands. We can't look ahead. It's one at a time because they're all gonna be dogfights from here. Hopefully when the dust settles we'll be in with a good chance."