PRELIMINARY FINAL PREVIEW | Sunbury vs Casey
Men’s First Grade Preliminary Final
Sunbury United Tigers vs Casey Warriors
3:00PM - Langama Park, Sunbury
Sunbury United Tigers will host Casey Warriors on Saturday in the 2018 NRL Victoria First Grade Preliminary Final.
Sunbury came into the finals in form winning three in a row, but just fell short against Werribee Bears in the Major Semi Final with a missed shot at goal after the siren, going down 18-16 in a tight match at Greaves Reserve.
Casey Warriors on the other hand fought hard to hold on against Waverley Oakleigh Panthers in the Minor Semi Final. Trailing 8-6, Waverley put the pressure on and attacked the Casey line relentlessly, but it was a huge defensive effort that kept Casey in the lead. With a late penalty goal, Casey extended the lead to four points and held out to record a 10-6 victory in order to progress to the preliminary final.
The Warriors will be gunning to feature in their fifth straight NRL Victoria Grand Final, and will need to overcome a Sunbury side looking to reach their first Grand Final since 2014. Progressing through to the Grand Final will see Casey squaring off against Werribee Bears for the fourth season in a row.
After going back to back as 2013 and 2014 NRL Victoria Premiers, Sunbury Tigers slipped to miss finals the following two years, re-appearing in the finals in 2017 before being knocked out in the Minor Semi Final by Northern Thunder.
Sunbury will be looking to use the strength and power of their second row star Samisoni Fusi who has found the line eight times in the last six matches, scoring nineteen tries overall in the 2018 season. Sunbury’s Alti Porter leads the First Grade in points scored for the season, with the hooker scoring 98 points during the regular season.
Casey welcome back two key players for the preliminary final both whom missed the Minor Semi Final via one match suspensions, centre John Nicholas and five-eighth Tauturu Hapuku return to boost Casey’s chances to reach the decider. John Nicholas leads Casey’s try scoring tally with twelve tries for the season, while Hapuku links back up in the halves with young gun Jai Taepa.
The two clubs last met in Round 17, in the final round prior to finals where Sunbury travelled to Casey and defeated the hosts 20-14 with Sunbury leading the season head-to-head 2-1.
This match promises to be a cracker with a lot on the line for both clubs, both trying to prove they belong at the top of the NRL Victoria First Grade competition and the chance to take on Werribee Bears in the 2018 Grand Final.