A Grade 1st Semi Final - High expectations!

14 August 2018


Mid West 1st Semi Finals Preview 18 August 2018


Finals have arrived! Barely a winter in 2018, spring is in the air, days are getting longer and the struggle for season honours starts in earnest. Congratulations to the Elliston FC, the only club not in action at the 1st Semi Final, with all sides straight into the second semi final, and outstanding club achievement. 

So much on the line now, no tomorrow for the vanquished this week.  Minnipa Oval is in great condition and always a wonderful place to play and watch our game.

A Grade

Central Eyre vs Wirrulla

The triple reigning premiers vs the rising Bombers, back into finals this year, a side bolstered with returning and recruited talent. Centrals have been so dominant at this time of year, they expect success, but face a real and present challenge this time around.

College season continues in Adelaide, so the unlikely return of young guns may affect both sides here. Rostrever a narrow 8 point loss to Henley in the State Open Knockout Preliminary Final, so they are a game closer to coming home if either of Bulldogs or Bombers get through.

On the season:

Round 1: at Warramboo               Central Eyre by 73 pts

Round 6: at Wirrulla                      Wirrulla by 50 pts

Round 11: at Kyancutta                Central Eyre by 24 pts

Neutral venue right in the centre of the travel between clubs, and no particular favour here either way.  Early forecast is cool with a possible cross breeze, so will suit the runners! Hard to make a call based on the earlier results.

The ‘dogs season has waned in the second half, loss, absence and injury taking a toll on this proud club, but never underestimate a Bulldog, particularly now! Early question marks over the players who have qualified, but missing in recent times.  Keys here are Hayden Heath, Brett Mc Comb.  Brandon and Corey Waters are also qualified and will add huge value to the side.  Jesse Stringer looms large in the centre, no-one appears to be able to quell his influence.  Tim Polkinghorne back in ruck adds bite, he competes well all day.  Jared Sampson an injury interrupted season, he is a high class performer, particularly suited to the higher finals pressure where he drives those around him, captain courageous Jake Sampson, always high in the best, leading from the front.  Ryan Sampson back to the side in recent games, a true warrior of past finals, missing in recent years.  His experience is a huge boost to the young runners at the club. Kane Sampson should be gently asking his wife very kindly to budget for a new pair of boots for the next few seasons, he is just great every week, and while has been in defence in recent years, the occasional return to the midfield pays big dividends.  While on grand old war horses, will Wade O Brien make a cameo as he did so successfully in finals 2017?  Tyler Chapman and Kane Grocke will be the key forwards, Kane’s return from injury timely to provide marking support for Tyler, who is just so hard to handle, in the air, on the ground he is electric!  Great season’s from Jaiden and Koby Nottle, John Mc Beath a reliable defender, Chandler May displays wonderful footy smarts, Brodi Grocke an up and coming star.

Like their opponents, the Bombers have had an interesting last half of the season, punctuated by injury an unavailability.  Looking through the list of unavailable last week could see up to eight ins, excluding college stars.  This list includes Jake Adamson- Thain, Rowan Chester (injury?), Vin Kellett, Yanni Kozminski, Emmanuel Sansbury, Taylor Schmucker, Dean Vickery.  Quite a list and should they all come up, Wirrulla will be quite a threat.

Sigh of relief that Ryan Watson made it through his return last week and a game under his belt. He adds to the club big guns Mitchel Gum, Darryl Dudley, Simon Webb.  Recent weeks these fellas have excelled when the side has been undermanned, can they regroup quickly?  Coach Mini Lawrie has promoted a fast play on style that works well, but needs all troops on deck.  Dion Pittway as dangerous, either around the goals or across the centre, he accrues mass possessions and uses the footy well.  The Roe brothers Sheridan and Callan love a challenge, hard won balls and tough in the contest.  Good player abound, Jai Holmes and Robert Holmes both key players in the Bombers best side, both have missed games but appear to be ready to go.  Robbie Marshall’s goal kicking talent are needed here and now, he is capable of bags!  Jerome Newchurch, Lachlan Ross, William Mayhew, Julian Dickson head an impressive defence, Andrew Bitmead very important with his skills and ability to read the play.  Andre Kelsh provides a forward target to assist Simon Webb.

The sides at their best appear to be well matched, and therefore there could be large stretches in the game in deadlock.  Early ascendancy is so important in knock out finals, just hard to play catch up football in finals pressure. The Dogs have a clear edge in experience, but the Bombers play a brand of football that works in finals. Really hard to pick this one on recent form, personnel changes at both clubs makes for hard work for both coaches. (and supporters!)

Bombers 1 – 10


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