Round 2 Match Previews
West Island Wooders -v- Montreal Demons
You’d think that after last week’s surprising win over the minor premiers, that the Montreal Demons would have no... trouble at all fielding a decent sized squad… Well then you’d be wrong. Luke O’Farrell faces several tough decisions – including possibly bringing someone out of retirement – when he is going to select his team for this week. Several players are potentially going to have to play through minor injuries in order to scrape through with the required 9 players. The Demons team, which I mentioned last week in their lack of commitment, is still trying to find an identity for themselves and the continuously changing squads isn’t going to help the team cohesion.
The Wooders on the other hand are all hands on deck behind their new coach, and arguably BoG in last week’s game Dan Robinson. After last years’ disappointment in the Grand Final, they are out to prove a point, and they did so by beating the reigning premiers by a comfortable margin, and made it look easy to boot! They are going to have a full squad, all of which are going to give the Demons headaches throughout what is supposed to be another sizzling and humid day of footy.
Prediciton : Swans like win for the Wooders … and the Demons are no Geelong
Laval Bombers -v- Old Port Dockers
If you were looking for a rivalry in AFL Québec that promises fireworks it would have to be this match up between the Laval Bombers and the Old Montréal Dockers. The Dockers will not need any added motivation to get up for this one with five Dockers remaining from the 2012 squad that lost in the grand final to the Bombers and nearly the entire 2013 squad that lost in the semi final to their nemesis. On the other side of the ledger, the Bombers, will have spent this past week licking their wounds from their first up defeat to the Wooders. They will be fired up to get their championship defense on track this week with a big statement win. Having spoken with Bombers coach, captain and heart Paul Fairbrother, the Shady Punter can report that the bombers may or may not have been putting in extra team trainings and fitness sessions during the week. They have also been drawing up an intricate game plan aiming to flood the right hand side of the field to counter the ever right footed puppet master of the Dockers Ronan Shaughnessy. They believe that if they force him onto his left he will end up continually running around in circles trying to get the ball onto his right foot and will eventually get dizzy and fall over.
As always the battle will begin in the center with the two big rucks David Boulerice and Neil Koch. As Neil learnt last week, the team that dominates the ruck will almost surely win the game. Neil will be looking to rebound back this week, getting quick taps to his on ballers Shaughnessy and Randy Andrada. From the center the Dockers will have options up forward with the ever reliable goal kicking machine Manus McDermott, or out wide to speedster Guy Joel.
Down back in defense, the Dockers will be a strong unit backboned by Juddy who was a boon last week versus the demons suffocating their forward entries. Surrounding Juddy will be Francis Lemieux and perhaps Brian Lee forming a formidable wall.
The most unpredictable and possibly game changing factor for the Dockers will be the debuts of Seb Charbonneau and Jarrod Farranda. Seb is chomping at the bit to get on the field, he is a lifelong Fremantle Docker fan back home in Australia and already bleeds the purple and white. Jarrod has an experienced head on his shoulders and a true boot and promises to be effective wherever he is inserted into the game.
As fired up and well prepared that the Dockers will be for this one, you just cannot argue with championship experience and the Bombers sure don’t have a shortage of that, winning five of the last six flags. Joining captain Fairbrother in the centres will be speedster, and last years AFL Quebec player of the year, Bogdan ‘The Blur’ Rotaru, and Michael Dodt. Bogdan has blinding speed and if he manages to get a bounce to return to his hands the Dockers will be left eating his dust.
The Bombers can expect a stronger effort this week with the return of defense hitman Joshue Gavidia and potential rookie of the year candidate Stevie Owens. Adding to that duo is Simon ‘Thunder Boot’ Auger at full back. The Dockers can expect their attacking pushes into their forward 30 to be stifled and turned around quickly by these three defensive aces.
Bringing energy and game changing play wherever they are masterfully inserted into the play will be the Alexis Boulerice and Kevin Barranco. Alexis has legs that seem to run all day and Barranco is tough as nails and tackles like a brick wall. If Fairbrother puts one of these two guys on a tagging role on Shaughnessy the Dockers star will be in for a long day.
Picking the winner is incredibly tough for this one. The Bombers have a wealth of championship experience but are perennial slow starters, tending to save themselves for when it matters at the pointy end of the season. The Dockers on the other hand are traditionally the best in season team, winning the last two minor premierships. They will be stinging from their first up loss to the Demons last week and will be striving to get out of the wooden spoon position on the ladder.
At the end of the day this punter is picking the Dockers to get up by two goals. I just cannot see the Bombers shifting into championship gear this early in the season and the Dockers will be too hungry.