The North Gippsland Football Netball League finals kick off on Saturday.
Seven of the league’s 10 clubs will be represented by at least one side on the footy field over the next month with Churchill and Rosedale the only clubs to have all three sides qualify.
In terms of senior football, Churchill – courtesy of a season which saw them drop just the single game – will be watching on during week one.
Coincidentally, both senior finals are rematches of round 18 home and away clashes.
These matches saw Yarram prevail over TTU by eight points and Heyfield better Rosedale by just over two goals.
If this week’s games are as close, then spectators are in for a ripping couple of days of football to open the finals campaign.
Saturday’s qualifying finals will be played at Heyfield while Sunday’s eliminations finals are at Sale City.
YARRAM v TRARALGON TYERS UNITED
Where is it being played?: Gordon St Reserve, Heyfield
What time is the seniors game scheduled to start?: 2:00pm
Yarram had the better of TTU in both of their home and away clashes however the reduction in margin from ten goals to just eight points from match one to match two will give the Bombers plenty of hope heading into Saturday’s game.
Tyers coach Michael Duncan spoke glowingly of his opposite during the declaring his former Premiership team mate “he a ripping coach and leader” before adding that “he didn’t give much away on the weekend.” But Duncan knows only too well the task his side faces acknowledging of Yarram that “they’ve got talent, experience, speed, size across all areas of the ground and they’ve got belief built up from a few finals campaigns in a row.”
Duncan also added the Bombers viewed this week as “a bit of a free hit” with his side earning the double chance that comes with finishing top three. His chances of claiming what would be an upset win look to be enhanced with Tyers able to call upon Dougal Williams and Kade Duncan this week. This duo compliment the inclusion of Lincoln Albanese who played his first senior game for season 2019 last week.
Like the seasoned professional he is Duncan has ramped up his sides preparation leading into the finals. In his words the Bombers have “put in 6 really good weeks on the track and the extra sessions have given us the results on the park.” While acknowledging finals are “a different caper and nobody is more experienced and capable at it than Yarram” Duncan said his side was “excited at the great opportunity and challenge” that comes with playing the defending premiers this week.
Yarram’s coach Matt Scholz noted that TTU had “a core of great players” that his side could not let “control the game” as they did at times last week. He also felt TTU matched up really well against the Demons highlighting the Bombers ability to “move the ball really well between the arcs” as one of their strengths.
Scholz will recall gun recruit Jack Weston to his line up this week and is hopeful he will also be able to call upon goal kicker Jarryd Swift. He said there was a really good feeling amongst the team at present and like Duncan and his Bombers the Demons were looking forward to the challenge of finals footy.
HEYFIELD v ROSEDALE
Where is it being played?: Stephenson’s Park, Sale
What time is the seniors game scheduled to start?:
As the name suggests it is season over for the vanquished in this week’s Elimination Final. When Heyfield and Rosedale met last weekend the Roos turned their seven goal round 10 loss into a 13 point win, which will see them head into this game full of confidence.
The Roos chances will be enhanced with Rosedale coach Sam Bristow confirming The ‘Dales leading goal kicker Brandan McDonald would again not be available for selection after being ruled out on medical advice due to a head knock he took knock against Cowwarr in round 17. Unfortunately for Bristow Rosedale also have several other players under injury clouds.
With their seconds and thirds also playing Sunday Bristow, who welcomed his third child during the week, will have no trouble getting up nice and early to conducting some fitness tests acknowledging “the team won’t be finalised until right before the bounce.” In better selection news Rohan Diamond, who also had an addition to the family this week, will be available to play.
Bristow said he expected Heyfield to recall Adam Wallace to their side Sunday and that “he will be putting some time in to trying to negate his influence.” Bristow also said “Cox and the two Woodlands on ball- working with Conway in the ruck- would prove quiet a handful” in his sides quest to push ahead to week two of the finals.
Bristow’s opposite number Rick Galea was also full of praise for Conway’s efforts also saying his ruckman was “fantastic last week” but he noted the Roos “will need to get similar out-put from him this week also” if they were to get the result. Galea said his side would take plenty of confidence out of last week’s result but added “Rosedale will be a completely different side with Diamond and Jones back in the midfield.”
Galea said his sides second half to the year was “fantastic” with their only losses coming at the hands of the top two sides Churchill and Yarram. The key this week he said would be “to settle early and stick to our structures and maintain pressure on Rosedale for four quarters.”
While Galea noted his “forward set up has been working well with Bedgegood & Jackway giving good hit up targets” he was wary of Rosedale forwards Frazar Brouns and Brad Scott. They are likely to have two of Scott Anderson, Shaun Humphreys and Brad Berry for company. Galea noted this would leave “Bryan Woodland and Marcus Sunderman to more than likely go to Rosedale young guns Will Logan and Brock Williams.”
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All match previews written by Scott Berechree. Match previews were also published by Latrobe Valley Express and Gippsland Times.