First Grade Semi Finals Preview
By Jayden Cameron
Finals are upon us and the First Grade matchups will be a close affair, with both games looking to come down to the wire. A win for either Werribee or Casey can send them into the Grand Final, and more importantly, give them a week’s rest, while the loser will then play the winner of Sunbury and Northern Thunder.
Werribee Bears v Casey Warriors
3.30pm @ Clearwood Drive Reserve
With last week’s forfeit by Casey, the Werribee Bears claimed the minor premiership for season 2017. However, this will all count for nothing when both these sides meet again in this week’s semi-final.
The rivalry has been spoken about all season, with a lopsided game in round eight ended with Casey running out victors 28-12. Yet, Werribee were able to square the ledger a couple of weeks later with a close victory in the NRLVIC’s 9’s Grand Final.
Everything is on the line in this match-up, with the loser not only having to play a spirited and motivated winner, the winner will be as confident as ever, if they are to match-up in the Grand Final.
Richard Ene will be the Warriors’ barometer in their attack, scoring 14 tries this season. Ene scored a hat-trick in their last game against Doveton back in round 14, as they triumphed over the Steelers, 72-4.
For Werribee, their last full game of football was back in round 12, with byes and forfeits hindering their run home in the lead up to Finals. However, claiming the Minor Premiership over their rivals will give them added confidence in, not only this match, but the rest of the Finals.
In this game, expect Werribee to use their speed and agility down the flanks, as well as their forwards making an impact through the middle. Casey’s defence is solid, and will again need to be if they are to run over the Bears. Casey’s physicality is their biggest advantage, powering over opposition teams, and using this power to gain territory up the field.
Sunbury Tigers v Northern Thunder
3.35pm @ Bruce Comben Reserve
The Sunbury Tigers are back into the Finals, and will be looking to make a statement this week against the fourth-placed Thunder.
They have met twice so far this season, with both teams grabbing a win each, in tight contests.
In their first match-up, the Thunder were able to grab a 2-point victory in round 1, winning 30-28. Manupuna Tafolo and Siona Tauafao were excellent in this game, both scoring a brace, while Samisoni Fusi began his try scoring rout with a double for the Tigers.
However, it was a different story in the second match up, back in round 9, with the Tigers hitting back with a comprehensive 56-24 victory. Samisoni Fusi dominated the Thunder’s defence, scoring five tries for the game, while Tiaan Wilkins was able to score a hat-trick for himself.
Both teams this season have shown inconsistencies when it comes to defence and limiting the opposition in attack.
Sunbury will be looking to put the ball in the hands of Samisoni Fusi when in attack, with the competition’s leading try-scorer aiming to propel his team to the second week of Finals.
Werribee Bears v Casey Warriors – Casey by 4
Sunbury Tigers v Northern Thunder – Sunbury by 8