2ND SEMI FINAL
CHURCHILL v YARRAM
Where is it being played?: Rosedale Rec Reserve
What time is the seniors game scheduled to start?: 2:00pm, Saturday August 31st
Occupying the top two positions on the ladder for most of the season it has perhaps been clear for some time that Churchill and Yarram, who played off in last years’ premiership decider, are again the best two sides in season 2019. Both lay claim to outstanding line-ups and with dry weather predicted this week’s second semi-final between these two fierce rivals could well be the best game of football played in the NGFNL this year.
Watching Yarram take care of TTU last week it dawned on me that in a team littered with stars like Chris Bruns, Griffin Underwood, Jack Weston and Dan Vardy it could well be that the Demons most important player is the unheralded Dirk Mullholland. Coming off the bench around 10 minutes into last week’s Qualifying Final Mullholland was able to more than hold his own in the ruck. Crucially this meant Yarram coach Matt Scholz could push Vardy forward. After 12 minutes of fruitless forward 50 entry’s the Demon front half finally registered their first major when Vardy took the first of several strong marks and kicked the first of his three first quarter majors.
While Churchill appear to have several viable options in Kurt Holt, Dean DeGroot or a recalled Lucas Towns to negate Vardy’s influence up forward their best bet might well be ruckman Nathan McRae dominating Mullholland in the middle. This would force Yarram to keep Vardy in the ruck and blunt his influence around goal.
This approach may also mean Churchill look to pick Dillon Leys for his first senior game of season 2019. Leys was dominant in the Reserves last week and was also one of Churchill best in last years’ Grand final loss to Yarram. After injury stalled his early season campaign Leys appears to be hitting his straps at just the right time.
Churchill coach Chris Williams was unable to confirm any selection news with him yet to finalise his side when contacted this week. Williams did say however said his side “will focus on our strengths this weekend and back ourselves in” in an attempt to take the quicker route through to what would be a second straight Grand Final. He acknowledged Yarram’s defensive pressure saying Churchill will need to “use the ball well and make the most of our forward entries” to get the win.
Williams also said there would be a strong focus on being “really efficient with the ball going into the forward line.” And with the Cougars boasting a forward line containing several goal scoring weapons it won’t take too many opportunities for them to muster a winning score.
Other than a quick word on Yarram fielding an unchanged line up from their win last week Demon coach Matt Scholz was playing his cards close to his chest. This means noted goal kicker Jarryd Swift won’t be recalled to the line-up and will likely be wearing the fluro runners attire again. Having worked out at the tail end of the first quarter during last week’s match he didn’t have to use the interchange area to enter and exit the ground Swift may save himself a few unnecessary kilometres this week as he attempts to regain fitness heading into either a Preliminary or Grand Final.Scott Berechree
1ST SEMI FINAL
TRARALGON TYERS UNITED v ROSEDALE
Where is it being played?: Glengarry Rec Reserve
What time is the seniors game scheduled to start?: 2:00pm, Sunday September 1st
Under the Top 5 Finals structure the First Semi Final is a clash between a week one winner and a week one loser. This generally makes for an intriguing match with the week one loser having had the better home and away season but the week one winner bringing with them momentum and confidence. As such the match between TTU and Rosedale at Glengarry on Sunday has the potential to be a cracking contest.
TTU’s ever positive coach Michael Duncan, when quizzed about last week said “there is little value in dwelling on it, so we’ve jumped straight to this week” adding that he and his team simply “can’t wait for Sunday.”
Duncan confessed to not having a preference as to who Tyers would face in week two of the finals as he watched Rosedale beat Heyfield noting that both would be tough to overcome. Duncan was taken by the work of Rohan and Adam Diamond saying “their run, along with that of Luke Stuckey, Tom Anderson and Rosedale’s younger brigade” was something the Bombers would need to negate to advance to a Preliminary Final. He also commented on “the strength and poise around the contest from Sam Bristow, Ben Jones and Sam Tudor” as one of Rosedale’s strengths.
In terms of his own side Duncan lamented that while he had at his disposal “some important players in really good form of late, a few that were down on the weekend.” He was confident however they’d bounce back noting that he’d “never seen them play two bad games ones in a row.”
Duncan’s opposite number Sam Bristow said his side “will most likely stay the same barring anyone not getting up from last week,” which is good news in terms of continuity but means he is again unlikely to be able to call upon gun forward Brandon McDonald for this must win clash.
Bristow said he would be putting some time into “quelling the influence of Ricky Cochrane” who he noted is “very dangerous with ball in hand.” Bristow was also wary of the Bombers Jack Brown adding that he “can be unstoppable when he is up and about.” Bristow also said negating Bill Morrison who can “can really rip games apart” will go a long way to ensuring the Blues live to fight another day.Scott Berechree
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All match previews written by Scott Berechree. Match previews also appear in the Latrobe Valley Express and the Gippsland Times.