West have dominated Whyalla football for some time and their record is the envy of every club.Jason Hannan
The 2020 Whyalla Football League Grand Final sees Whyalla Football's modern-day powerhouse West Whyalla take on a powerhouse of yesteryear Central Whyalla in a rematch of last year's decider which the Dragons won
In their 75th year the Dragons are eyeing off a fifth straight premiership under the guidance of coach Brad Smith, who by the way boasts a coaching record of 83 games for 78 wins, 4 losses, a draw and 4 premierships, a fifth premiership and the Dragons may well have a new General at the club.
The Roosters have been knocking on the premiership door for sometime now having been so close in 2017 and blown away in the first term of last years decider, the jury is still out to weather this crop of Roosters are good enough to put an end to this West Whyalla dynasty
West have dominated Whyalla football for some time and their record is the envy of every club in Whyalla, since 1945 they have won 21 premierships, but recently since 2007 they have played in 12 grand finals, won 7 premierships and are on a run of 4 consecutive premierships and are hunting a #5.
The Roosters record ain't too shabby either, since 1921 they have won 25 premierships and from 1998 until 2007 which was their last premiership played in every grand final for 8 premierships and a Whyalla record of 6 in a row.
The Dragons will start the game as the red hot favourites and rightly so, they are such a versatile side with most if not all of there players capable of playing numerous positions depending on their side's needs.
Their midfield is very adaptable. Myles McNamara, Damien Coyne, Ben Butler, Brannen Everrett, Shannon Winders and Remy Starkey can all play forward as well either as an inside or as an out depending on their centre square mix but their job is made a hell of a lot easier thanks to ruckman Ben English who gives them first use of the footy more times than not, and has a good recent record against the Roosters rucks.
Their defence, led by Whyalla News Medalists Ciaran Hollingsworth- Hughes, Saul Tonkin and Ian Mills, has conceded on average, 29 points per game and a lot of that has to do with the development of Dakoda Frodsham-Press, the return to form of the old warhorse Aaron Smith and the versatile Ben Haseldine who can play either tall or small.
The Dragon forwards don't have any problem scoring averaging 91 points per game this season and has been aided by the fact they have numerous goalkickers. Nathan Grzona is a proven goal kicker, Ryan Winders is only starting to learn his craft but is improving at a rapid rate and that leaves us with the X factor Elliott McNamara, fresh from some good performances for North Adelaide Under 18's is one player who's performance can be game changing.
Central in their 101st year are starting to find the type of form of last year and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Nick DeJonge looks hungry again and Is hunting the ball at ground level more often using his big frame to his side's advantage.
The Rooster midfield like their ruckman look to been clicking at the right time of the year, not only is Nick Sims back breaking the lines on attack, his gut running and tackling are team inspiring, Cliff Puckhaver- Tupe, the Colson brothers Daniel and Kyle and arguably the best of them all Marco Tansell are showing signs of being back to near best form.
Forward of centre the Roosters have a good mix of talls and smalls. Josh Maddigan, Matt Woolford, Mitchell Schwerdt, Vinnie Grahand Daniel Colson give you plenty of goal-kicking ammunition but like West there is one forward who is capable of winning a game off his own boot and that's Scotty Collison. He may be getting a bit long in the tooth but he definitely hasn't lost lost any of his ability or football smarts.
The Rooster defence has been under a little more attack this season than usual and have conceded an averaged of 49.9 points per game but that average has dropped dramatically to 24.5 points per game in last four weeks.
Instrumental for those drop in numbers is the overall improvement of the defence as a whole, Sam Ellis is returning to his rebounding best across half back, Daniel Marshall, Hamish Quirk, Brayden Woolford, Nick Gale are all playing their roles and having Wayne Piggot available more often has seen those numbers fall by the wayside.
The Dragons will start red hot favourites, they are undefeated and when challenged, which hasn't been often this season, they seem to have another gear the rest of the competition doesn't have
If the Roosters are to beat the Dragons they are going need to forget all about what West are or will be achieving and believe in what they, Central, will be achieving. They've definitely got enough good players when at there best are capable of causing a major upset.
Stats and numbers mean nothing when playing in a Grand Final but they give me enough indication that Westies are going to be near impossible to beat and I'm sure they will make it a club equally five premierships in a row. West by 22 points
In the seconds Grand final West and Centrals also play off in the season decider, West like the league team are undefeated but the Roosters winning both finals with a Josh Bartel goal after or on the siren sees them a major threat to the higher placed Dragons and I'm tipping an upset - the Roosters to do it three weeks in a row, Central by 3 pts.
The Under 18's clash which will be held under the new lights of the Bennett Oval Friday night sees Central who are undefeated taking on a Weeroona Bay a side that possess a weapon in Stevie Jackson who can turn that game in his sides favour. I think the Roosters will make it four U18 premierships in a row, Central by 15 points.
- Jason Hannan