Shady Punter - Finals - Round 1 Preview
Old Montreal Dockers v West Island Wooders
Following the unfortunate outcome of the season’s final regular match, authorities decided to draw the Wooders VS Dockers game, granting Old Montreal the two points that saved them from the dreaded elimination final, much to the dismay of the Laval Bombers.
In the first installment of 2015 Finals, Old Montreal will have the chance to avenge Azza’s injury by dealing the Wooders their first ever finals defeat in history, on the other hand, the Wooders will be able to get within one game of the back to back championships. In terms of lineups, the Wooders will show up with their regular core of Houvion, Robinson, Manassa and P-O Chemin, who will look to feed the constantly dangerous Petosa up front. Add to this, Matty Payne in the back line, guiding the likes of Core, Rassi and the Lavoie brothers. Pitch in Ken Boudreau, Massicotte and the ever improving Eric Chemin and you get a team that yours truly does believe can make it all the way up to premiership glory.
Dockers, on the other hand, have been struggling all year long to make numbers, but they can count on their experienced regulars, Andrada, McCammon, Robson, Leyva, Coogan, Rocher and Shaughnessy. Englishman Kavaney is set to make a return from his trip, and Fancke and Duff are still game time decision. At this point of the year, injuries are not as bad as they actually appear, so we might actually see the return of Darren Murphy whom the Dockers have been missing a lot this season.
In terms of prediction, if the Dockers can start scoring early, as opposed to what they did the whole season, they might stand a chance against the western juggernaut, however, stats and team size tend to give us a return to the Grand Final for the president’s team.
Wooders by 35.
Plateau Eagles v Carleton Warriors
The Warriors may think they have this in the bag, however this is finals footy and anything can happen, especially since the ability to borrow/swap players is no more. During the latter part of the season you never knew who was going to be wearing Warrior blue. Yes, they have their constants like Holly Costanza, Vivian Nguyen and Dora Bartulovic… but this week one of these three is sidelined by injury. Do you know who? Regardless she is one of the leading scorers so her absences WILL make a difference. The Warriors were however able to recruit new players, so nothing like finals footy to play your first footy game, hey Jill Brooks and Bailey Jones!
The Eagles want a win this season, and with a more experienced side an upset could happen. At the time of this report all confirmed Eagles players, unlike the Warriors, have numerous game under their belt. No footy virgins in the Plateau! This should help as they try to take out the ladder leading Carleton Warriors. The Eagles have two consistent Rucks. Larissa Andrusyshyn and Marie Soleil Jacques both get better every game and the ability to interchange these two will be an advantage. Let’s not forget that Jane Fenelon has been training in Ottawa all summer…what scoop could she/did she share???
The Eagles will put up a fight and might capitalize on some Warrior “rookies”, but in the end Carleton will not let Mama Dickinson down. They will win this game.
NDG Giants v Rideau Shamrocks
Looking at the Giants line up, amongst the confirmed players is Valerie Moreau the leading goal kicker of the league. The combination of her and Margo Legault has been dangerous all season. At second glace even though small in numbers the Giants have a well-rounded team. Solid defending from Frankie Benedetti, boundless energy from Gaby Bureau and Mariette Parrod who hasn’t missed a game all season.
The Shamrocks may have more players on the team sheet, however only a small minority of them played in the last round. Joining them will be the return of three original Shamrocks, who will fight though injury, push aside other obligations because well … this is finals footy, it’s what you do! There will also be three brand new Shamrocks. Shady has no idea where these ladies came from, what sporting background they have but is excited to see what Jen Keir, Anke Petzelt and Hilary Enns bring to the game.
In all honestly, Shady flipped a coin. There were too many variables in this match up. How many Giants will turn up to play? How will the Shamrocks three new, footy newbies fair? Both teams have players, suiting up though injured? Are they calling for rain? Heads – Giants, Tails - Shamrocks. HEADS!
Laval Bombers v Montreal Demons
So here we are, after nine rounds of footy, the first Elimination game of the final series and a repeat of the last round of the regular season. Will the result be the same and see the Demons progress to the Semi Final or can the Bombers stem their losing streak against the Dees.
Both teams will be strengthened considerably going into this game so expect another absolute dinger of a game between these two sides. The Bombers have a full squad to choose from something that coach Fairbrother will be delighted with while the Demons are without Nixon, Michelmore and Tronche who all decided that September was a good time to go on holidays… seriously. But O’Farrell will be delighted to welcome back the godfather of Quebec Footy, Luke Anderson and the biggest pain in the ass of every forward in the league, Nico Pouessel.
How this game will play out, will depend so much on the ball up winning abilities of Whyte in the ruck. The Bombers will struggle to match the big Demon on ball ups and if Whyte can effectively distribute the ball to his fellow team mates, then its advantage Demons. But I expect the Bombers to be much stronger on ball and will be able to rotate Rotaru, Rogers and Strom to greater effect than the Demons, so if Whyte is not hitting his men, then it spells trouble for the Demons.
Around the ground these teams are so even, and there will be so many one on one battles, each one more important than the next, it will be a fascinating encounter to watch. Graham was relatively quiet last time these two teams met and I fully expect him to be chomping at the bit to bag himself a few more goals this time round. The Graham / Gavidia battle will be another major factor in how this game shapes up. Contrary to what I said before the last game, with Strom, Auger and Bone back for the Bombers, the Bombers now have as many game changers as the Demons though.
These teams could play 100 times and with this Sundays squads available to them, they would probably win about 45 each with a handful of ties thrown in. But it’s this Sunday that matters. Come 6.00pm, one team’s season will be over. Who’s will it be?
Last round I predicted the teams to be even for three quarters of the game and the Demons to pull away in the last, this time round I’m expecting something very similar … except for the roles to be reversed. Bombers to win.