Grand Finals Preview

A big finals day is scheduled at Blacktown ISP this weekend as we crown five premiers on Saturday.

Division Two – Blacktown Magic vs Camden Cats @ 4pm @ Blacktown ISP
If their last two encounters are anything to go by, the Division Two match between Blacktown and Camden will be physical.

The Road So Far
Blacktown
Last years runners up have had another impressive season in 2015. They finished second on the table with 12 wins and 5 losses and with the second best percentage in the division. They started the year on fire with a four game winning streak including a 107 point win over North Shore in Round 1. The Magic then lost three of their next four before regaining their form to finish the season off with five straight wins.

Camden
Camden have been the big improvers in Division Two after finishing fifth in 2013 & 2014. After losing in Round 2 against Manly Warringah, Camden went on to win 14 games straight to claim the minor premiership. Under coach Chris Hughes, the Cats defeated all teams during the home and away season and were at their best in Round 16 as they demolished Western Suburbs by 108 points. A come from behind victory last weekend against Manly Warringah was probably their greatest victory this year.

Previous Matchups
Camden lead the ledger between the two sides, after a 50 point victory in Round 7 and a 10 point win ain Round 13. However, the Magic have claimed the most recent and important meeting when they defeated the Cats by 10 points in the 2nd Semi Final two weeks ago.

Key Players
Blacktown
Josh Mann – The captain of the side, Mann leads from the front with his strong marking and good decision making. Playing across the halfback line, Mann will most likely get the important job on either Josiah Ayling or Matthew Withers.

Ash Moeller – Moeller has played higher up the ground in 2015 impacting his scoreboard output however the coach of the Magic has been fantastic once again. He has still kicked 30 goals this year and the Camden defenders must be cautious of him when inside forward fifty.

Camden
Josiah Ayling – The two time Sanders Medallist has battled injuries the last two year but has seemed to have shaken those off and is ready for a big performance in the Grand Final. He kick started the Cats comeback last week with two goals in the second quarter.

Matthew Withers – Withers has already had a distinguished football career and a premiership with Camden will be one more item he can add to the resume. The 35 year old was close to best on ground last week and kicked the winning goal with under a minute to play to give the Cats the lead.

Prediction
The Magic would have enjoyed the week off last week to freshen up and will fancy their chances on the larger spaces at Blacktown. The Cats though found some form last weekend and won’t want to miss this opportunity.

Cats by 4 points


Division Three – UTS Bats vs Sydney University @ 11.05am @ Blacktown ISP
The battle of the Universitys will take place Saturday as minor premiers UTS look to bring the Bats their second premiership in 2015 when they take on Sydney University at Blacktown ISP.

The Road So Far
UTS
The Bats started the year like a house on fire winning their first 12 matches before finally being defeated by their Grand Final opponent Sydney University by 17 points in the Round 4 wet weather catch-up game. Another loss to Pennant Hills two weeks later raised question marks on whether the Bats were premiership material but they squashed all questions with a comprehensive win in the 2nd Semi Final.

Sydney University
The Students were at the top of the ladder for the first 11 rounds of the season before two losses in their next three games ended their minor premiership hopes. A comprehensive win over Western Suburbs last week have them primed for this match.

Previous Matchups
Have met three times this year with UTS claming two of those meetings with a 9 point win in Round 9 and a 28 point victory in the 2nd Semi Final. The Students know that they can beat the Bats, having done so in the Round 4 wet weather catch-up game which they won by 18 points.

Key Players
UTS
Harry Sleigh – The Bats full forward, Sleigh is a player who is able to hit the scoreboard at will. Only played the eight games in Division Three this year, Sleigh has still kicked 40 goals averaging just under 5 goals a game and will need to be stopped.

Richard Fitzgerald – The running midfielder, Fitzgerald has been one of the Bats most consistent performers in 2015. Has played 11 games this season being named in the best 7 times.

Sydney University
Gabriel Robbie – The big full forward, Robbie has had another fantastic year this year kicking 62 goals from only 11 games. The former Premier Division player can kick a big bag, highlighted by his efforts in Rounds 7, 8 & 18 where he kicked 10 goals or more in each of the matches.

Joshua Cutrupi – with a long penetrating kick, Cutrupi will be a key for the Students to break open UTS’ defensive pressure. Has played all 20 games for the Students this year and will provide good leadership.

Prediction
The Bats have been strong favourites all season long and will be very tough to beat but if any team can do it, it is Sydney University.

UTS by 19 points


Division Four – Macquarie University vs Wollondilly @ 8.45am @ Blacktown ISP
Macquarie University will be looking to win their first reserve grade premiership while Wollondilly will be looking to go one better than their runner up position in 2014.

The Road So Far
Macquarie University
After dropping back from Division Three this year, the Warriors didn’t start the season too well with three losses from four games and it looked like they would be near the bottom of the ladder again. However, something clicked after that point as they only dropped the one more match en route to claiming the minor premiership. A 123 point win over Moorebank in Round 15 was their biggest win of the year.

Wollondilly
After being defeated in last years Grand Final, the Knights were keen to go one better in 2015. Early on in the season, the Knights struggled to get back to back wins but found form in the second half of the year to finish in third. The Knights shook of their defeat to Holroyd Parramatta in the Qualifying Final to flip the result in the Preliminary Final against the Goannas.

Previous Matchups
Wollondilly and Macquarie University have surprisingly only played once this year, way back in Round 2. The Knights got the victory over the Warriors by 19 points at University Oval that day.

Key Players
Macquarie University
Troy McMurrich – The big Macquarie University ruckmen will be key for the Warriors in the middle of the ground and will be looking to give his midfielders first use of the ball. ‘Phar Lap’ also works hard around the grounds and will push back in defence to sit in the hole. Played his 300th game earlier this season.

Gavin Nixon – The Warriors captain has showed all his experience in 2015. After being a regular member of the Division One side the previous three years, the 37 year old took on the captaincy of the Division Four side and has led from the front all season. Doesn’t mind a goal either, kicking 20 goals during the year.

Wollondilly
Daniel Hockey – Last years Armstrong Medallist, Hockey adds class coming out of defensive 50 finding teammates further up the ground. Has spent less time in the middle this season but has had another superb season.

Jason Haddock – The former Campbelltown Premier Division player, Haddock will be the main forward for the Knights on Saturday. Strong hands above head and a good kick at goal, the Warriors will need to shut him down.

Prediction
The Warriors have been outstanding in the second half of the year and will be very hard to beat but Wollondilly have claimed the only win between the pair and will believe they can do it again.

Macquarie University by 23 points


Women’s Division One– Sydney University vs Newtown Breakaways @ 1.30pm @ Blacktown ISP
Sydney University will be looking for three premierships in a row this Saturday as Newtown look to claim their first premiership since 2010.

The Road So Far
Sydney University
After claiming the premiership in 2014 without losing a game, the pressure will be on the Bombers to see if they can win a third straight premiership. They did not go through undefeated this year after losses in Rounds 4 to Western Wolves and Round 15 to Newtown, but the Bombers look on track to claim a third straight flag.

Newtown
After Balmain folded at the start of the year, Newtown were the main beneficiaries of this, recruiting some former Balmain women to the club. These recruits immediately lifted Newtown to a genuine premiership contender with Newtown finishing second on the ladder helped by big wins over fellow top four teams, Western Wolves in Round 6 and UNSW/ES in Round 2 and also in the Preliminary Final in extra time last week.

Previous Matchups
Both sides have met three times this year with the Bombers winning two of those clashes, in Round 5 by 30 points at St Pauls Oval and in the 2nd Semi Final two weeks ago by 33 points at Blacktown ISP. The Breakaways have shown they can beat the Bombers, in Round 15 by a whopping 63 points at Mahoney Park.

Key Players
Sydney University
Stephanie Walker – The Women’s Division One Best & Fairest from 2014, Walker will look to use her run and carry on the open spaces at Blacktown ISP to break open the game. A shoulder injury has hampered Walker this year but looks to have recovered from that at the right time of the season. Team of the Year member in 2015 on the half forward flank.

Nicola Barr – Nicola Barr may be one of the youngest players in the competition but she is also one of the most skilled. Nominated for the rising star award in Round 1, Barr has had an excellent year playing in the midfield and has also represented NSW/ACT in 2015. Team of the Year member in 2015 on the wing.

Newtown
Alison Parkin – The pint sized back pocket possesses some of the best skills in the whole competition. A beautiful kick of the footy, Parkin will look to create from the back half of the ground to set up the Breakaways attack and will be intrusted in taking the kick outs. Team of the Year member in the back pocket.

Verna Iles – The leading goalkicker in season 2015, Iles will be the main forward on the ground. If her teammates can give her enough opportunities, Iles’s is someone who can kick a winning score off her own boot. Team of the Year member at full forward.

Prediction
If there is one team in the competition who can stop the Bombers winning their third premiership it is the Breakaways but Sydney University on the bigger ground may be too quick for Newtown.

Sydney University by 11 points


Under 19’s Division Two– Western Suburbs vs Holroyd Parramatta @ 6.30pm @ Blacktown ISP
Western Suburbs and Holroyd Parramatta will play in the first ever Under 19s Division Two night grand final this Saturday.

The Road So Far
Western Suburbs
The defending premiers had another outstanding season in 2015, finishing second on the ladder with a win-loss record of 13 and 3. The Magpies started the year with four wins before their first loss came in Round 5. It’s been a stop start season after that with forfeits rearing their ugly head resulting in the Magpies having four sides forfeiting when playing them. This has not stopped the Magpies gaining momentum towards the Grand Final currently on a four game winning streak.

Holroyd Parramatta
The Goannas have been big improvers in 2015. After not winning a single game in 2014, the Goannas youngsters pushed themselves to premiership contenders with an outstanding season. Like the Magpies, the Goannas have also been affected by forfeits with four against them as well. They won 10 games in a row during the middle of the season including some monster winning margins, Round 12 by 150, Round 14 by 147 and Round 15 by 120.

Previous Matchups
These two sides have met on four occasions splitting the wins two apiece. Holroyd Parramatta had some massive wins again Wests in Round 5 by 77 points and Round 10 by 144 points. The Magpies however have won the latest two encounters by 7 points in Round 16 and 24 points in the 2nd Semi Final.

Key Players
Western Suburbs
Ben Zoppo – Probably has the best overhead mark in the competition, Zoppo will be the number one player on the ground. If he kicks five goals on Saturday, the Magpies will most likely be premiers. Played one Premier Division game this season and was very impressive in his debut match.

Dom Kannan – Kannan will be the general in the midfield for the Magpies. Another Magpie who has had a taste of Premier Division footy, Kannan will be looking to use his precise skills to great affect. Can also be used as a goal kicking option as well if needed and has already kicked nine goals in a game once this season.

Holroyd Parramatta
Mitchell Sapiatzer – Sapiatzer will be the main forward for the Goannas and has some good form after kicking a bag of five last weekend. Has kicked 20 goals this season and has also played nine games for the Goannas Division One team.

Stephen Smith – Smith is a clever small forward who could be an x-factor in the final on Saturday. Has kicked 36 goals throughout the season and has been impressive against the Magpies this year with 10 goals from four games against the Magpies.

Prediction
This match will be a nail biter, if Holroyd Parramatta can stop Zoppo up forward, the Goannas will be in the box seat for the premiership.

Holroyd Parramatta by 2 points

 




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