2nd Semi Final
West v North
Finals footy is finally upon us and what better way to start with Saturday’s second semi final clash between minor premier West and long time rival North.
There’s no love lost between these two sides and with a spot in the grand final up for grabs it’s sure to be on for young and old right from the first bounce.
The Dragons finished on top ahead of the Magpies by only percentage but in their four meetings this year the Magpies have won three with the other being a draw.
The two sides’ style of play are quiet contrasting with the Magpies adapting a more physical contested approach compared to the Dragons run and carry brand of football which can be quiet devastating if not kept in check.
The two sides have a number of match winners but there are two that stand out and may well be the difference at the end of the day.
For North, Chad Clothier loves the big stage and is a totally different player when September comes around, his ability to play of half back, through the midfield or at the goal front can turn a game on its head in a matter of minutes.
For the Dragons that man is Ben Butler similar to Clothier his versatility is his strength, the Maggies have put a heavy tag on Butler previously with success and if Butler with help from his team mates can break that tag the Dragons may well be the first team into the 2018 grand final.
Past results and form means nothing when it comes to finals and it will come down to the side that is more desperate and can handle the pressure of the big stage, both sides are proven finals performers so your guess is as good as mine who will win this game but I have a feeling (but with no confidence) it will be by less than a goal with the Dragons coming out on top.
West by two points.
1st Semi Final
South v Weeroona Bay
Sunday’s knockout final sees a return to finals football for both South and Weeroona Bay.
The two sides have met on four occasions so far this season with the Demons leading 3-1 and aside from their last meeting the outcome has been decided late in the final term.
The Demons on paper have talent to burn, but inconsistency throughout games has been their major let down and has cost them games.
The Dees are a confident side and enter the finals on the back of three consecutive wins.
Dave Cleary, Joel Howard-Bristow, Nathan Ahmat-Watkins, Aidey Lawson and Freak Phillips are all at the top of the game, giving the Demons an air of belief that they can give the finals race a huge shake.
The Bays have been on the up since Craig Inglis took over as head coach last season and fully deserve their position in the final four.
They are an enthusiastic bunch of lads with plenty of energy and can be a very dangerous side when it all comes together.
Rowan Mitchell, Jake Bienke, Steve Hallam, Bevan Doolan, Aaron Rogers, Brad Yendall and Owen Yendall are all capable of producing big games but its full forward Kade Gale-Jones who is the one player that can decide an outcome of a game of his own boot, he is a little erratic at times but when he’s on he is a very hard person to match up and holds the key to their finals fortunes.
Both sides will be confident of progressing to next week’s preliminary final and beyond but there can be only be one.
The Demons look to be getting their game together at the right time of the year and I may be a little biased so I’m tipping South to give this year’ finals series a real shake.
South by 11 points.
Whyalla News Medal
This Monday at Weeroona Bay sees the counting of the 2018 Whyalla News Medal
It promises to be a tight count with several players in the hunt, West’s Ben Butler and Shannon Winders, North’s Josh Trezise and Adam Nicol, Weeroona Bay’s Aaron Rogers, South’s Dave Cleary, Joel Howard-Bristow and Aidey Lawson, Roopena’s Kane Grund and Central’s Clifford Pickhaver-Tupe have all had good seasons and should poll votes.
My Tips are first – Ben Butler, second – Joel Howard- Bristow, third – Josh Trezise and my dark horse – Aidey Lawson.