The excitement levels for all clubs competing this week will be intense as it will mark the start of the 2018 EDFL final series. On Saturday Longwarry will hold the stage with Warragul Industrials in the 2nd Semi Final at Ellinbank and on Sunday the Catani will kick off their premiership defence against Poowong at their Taplin’s road home ground in the Elimination Final. Curiosity on how every team will measure up to the extra pressure and expectations of the finals always add heightened interest to the matches this time of the year. After last weeks results that saw the top two teams – Nyora and Longwarry both lose – the flag looks up for grabs!
QUALIFYING FINAL DAY – SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST
Longwarry will enter marginal favourites against the Warragul Industrials. Their clashes this season shed little light on who will win. The Crows won both but only by three point in round two and five points in round five. Furthermore, both boast the highest scoring attacks and have an almost identical percentage. Longwarry look to have a better structured forward line with key targets Daniel Fry (68 goals), Brayden McHugh (46) and Corey Lenders (31) but the Dusties appear to have far more options up forward led by Shane Brewster (52), Jack Blakey (30) with a strong support cast led by Tye Holland (19), Mitch Davies (14) and Will Jolley (12). While Brewster is an outright star Davies could pose the most problems for the Longwarry defence with his height and agility. Midfield the irrepressible Tyson Bale, Tye Holland along with Steven Ballingall, Josh Peterson and the emerging Travis Ogden will strut out their stuff against Longwarry onballers Russell Lehmann, Danny Wells, Brody and Riley Rundell and Jake Delphine. Given the midfields will likely neutralise each other the result may well sit with the ruckman and the back six. In these areas the Crows look superior. The athleticism of Nick Redley and the settled and attacking defence led by Ken Towt, Aaron Serong and Colin Cook tip the scales the way of Longwarry.
A big day of football will start with an U16 clash between Longwarry and Poowong. Those to arrive early can expect to see pacy Crow rover Bailey Stephens and his forward colleagues Angus Adamiak (50 goals) and Aiden Fox (23) figure prominently while Poowong’s Hayden Wallis (23 goals) and Tom Derrick and Alex Henshall have never been too far from the action in most games this season.
In the U18s Catani and Buln Buln will be out to claim a 2nd Semi Final berth against Neerim South. On form the Blues hold look to be the side to beat. Kiam Rose, Lauchlan Gregson - who has kicked 104 goals this season and Lennard Edward-Hayes have all played a key role in the team’s success this season and likewise Marco Kulas, Nick Huggett, Kyan Willis and Flynn O’Reilly for the Lyrebirds.
The reserves game will feature Warragul Industrials and Ellinbank. With only one loss this season the Dusties deserve favouritism. Damien Mullen and Scott Lindsay never play a bad game and should again be prime movers but if they were to lower their colours to the Eagles midfielders the Bankers could surprise as its forwards Ben Drew, James Scammell and Toby Wallace are very capable of kicking a winning score between them.
U/16s – LONGWARRY v Poowong
U/18s – CATANI v Buln Buln
RESERVES – WARRAGUL INDUSTRIALS v Ellinbank
SENIORS – LONGWARRY V Warragul Industrials
ELIMINATION FINAL DAY – SUNDAY 26TH AUGUST
Poowong will be out to put a smile on the face of its long-suffering supporters who have been waiting since its last final appearance in 2007. It only secured a spot in the top five late in the season but better late than never to steal a finals berth. It will be a tough assignment as in the Magpies way will be the reigning premiers and on their home turf. On the plus side it has won six games in a row and last week inflicted defeat on the minor premiers Nyora. With the return of key forward Ben Hancock in only his seventh game this season to support veteran Trevor Hooker along with Chris Doria, gun recruit Chris Robinson and the plucky Jack Hazendonk it boasts some of the best quality players in the competition. Catani haven’t found last year’s form. The output of its midfield dynamo’s Paul Pattinson and Nick Visser cannot be faulted but many others in the navy blue have mixed their form. Owen Fitzpatrick still poses a big threat but it will need to get the ball in quickly and deep in the forward line to stop him being double teamed. Poowong should keep its premiership dream alive in a close contest.
The Sunday program will kick off with Ellinbank and Buln Buln meeting in the U16s. The Eagles will enter favourites having won eight matches this season as opposed to the Lyrebirds four. The Bankers Corey Garlick, Matthew Dare and Lewis Kennedy should make their presence felt and also Brendan Wall and Max Chesterfield for Buln Buln based on recent form.
The U18s clash between Ellinbank and Poowong shapes as a close contest. Only four points separated the two when they last met in round ten. Among the players to keep an eye on include Eagles Lachlan Hedrick, Tyler Constantine and Will Robertson and for the Magpies Josh McNally, Ash Schmidt and Jackson Barlow.
Catani enter firm favourites in the reserves. It won five more games than the Magpies during the home and away season. Blues ruckman John Traynor, Will Temby the experienced Justin Evans can be expected to lead the way for the Blues. Magpie coach Reece Attenborough, Andrew Wallis and Stephen Joyce will give it their best shot but may be overwhelmed by the depth of the Catani list.
U/16s – ELLINBANK v Buln Buln
U/18s – ELLINBANK v Poowong
RESERVES – CATANI v Poowong
SENIORS = Catani v POOWONG
Last Modified on 22/08/2018 14:24