Gunnedah's chances of booking an immediate grand final spot will hinge on them not giving the "front-running" Saints a "sniff" of victory in Saturday's major semi-final at Inverell, Bulldogs midfielder Jake Spackman has said.
Spackman said Inverell "played the game with heart" but were not as fit as the Bulldogs, and "whoever wants it more will win on the day".
"They're a team that if you give 'em a sniff, they're front-runners," he said.
They're a team that if you give 'em a sniff, they're front-runners.Jake Spackman
"If we're in front [against them], we normally come [away] on top ... they're a side that hasn't really lost that many games the last two years. So when the game's on the line, I don't think they've had the experience to get over the line."
The two sides met in Inverell in the penultimate round, with the Saints winning by 51 points.
But Spackman said Gunnedah were missing "a couple" of players for that clash and had a limited warm-up after they were delayed en route to the game when their bus hit a kangaroo.
In the grand final replay (Inverell beat Gunnedah in the 2018 finale], the Bulldogs hosted Inverell and won by 11 points.
Spackman said Gunnedah would field a stronger side on Saturday than the side who met Inverell in their previous clash.
The performance of Spackman will be key to Gunnedah's chances on Saturday. The former QAFL player - the second-highest goalscorer in the comp this season with 43 majors - said he may place "too much" pressure on himself to help secure Gunnedah wins.
However, he said his high expectations of himself "come with the job" and, as such, he was used to the pressure. "I go out and do the best of my ability, and if I can get us over the line, then I've done my job," he said.