Storky's Footy Talk - Grand Final
GRAHAM "STORKY" CAMPBELL
It’ll be a great night of footy when all four teams battle it out in the Purcell’s Engineering Grand Final.
All four teams deserve the recognition as they have achieved what every other team wanted.
The Emerald Tigers were the Minor Premiers in the Men’s competition however they did lose a few games towards the end of the normal competition. They did win the Qualifying Final in a close shave 22-18 over Bluff and were rewarded with the week off. I think they needed it.
The Panthers have won their last few games of the regular season and they’ve been on a roll in the Finals Series defeating the Dysart Bulls and Bluff Rabbitohs.
The Tigers’ main back is Ray Ebsworth, named in the centres and playing in this position will only have him on one side of the field whereas I feel he needs to be at fullback to have options.
The Panthers have Mitch Wyatte who is in form and has great football sense with a lot of experience, especially come Grand Finals. As long as he is fit and can run with the ball, Middlemount will be a force and to complement Wyatte, the Panthers have Joel Duffy as his supporting half and he is also in form.
Duffy has many options in his running game. He can pass the ball but he can also run and has a good playing relationship with brother-in-law and Panthers fullback Ryan Hansell. Hansell is a handful to control and could prove costly to the Tigers if he isn’t shut down.
The Tigers have Dywayne Rigby in the front row alongside Darcy Darby, and that combination has been the better pairing all year for the Tigers. Rigby can scoot ten metes when there is a try in it.
Joe Taotofi and Brendan Hoskin for the Panthers have been the linchpin of the Panthers and can lead up front. Alex Sainsbury has been getting fitter all year and is a nonstop worker in the back row.
One player not to let in space is Mikey Dyson. If you give him room, you might as well shut the door as he will run off into the night but to compensate Dyson, the Tigers have young Isaiah Huet and McIver Watene at the back and they both have speed to burn.
Off the bench is my old mate Peter ‘Boyzey’ Harbord and he can do damage when on the ball. He was in the premiership side in 2008 for the Tigers and knows what success tastes like.
The Tigers have good halves in Gavin Power and Darcy Hardess and they will be tested by their experienced opposite pair.
It will be a tough game and the Panthers have the fitness to last the full 80 minutes but the Tigers at home will dog it out and come out in front to win the 2016 Premiership.
It is an old saying but it will take 80 minutes to win.
The Ladies Final is the two top sides of the year playing off again for the third consecutive Grand Final.
The Clermont Ladies have been dominating all year. They have really good players in Carly Bell, Tegan Rolfe and Elle Waters. Either one can decide a game as they have the individual skills of beating a player and/or the opposition. They step up when the heat is on and as long as they don’t have niggling injuries they will be the danger players for the Bears.
If the Tigers concentrate on shutting down these three it’ll leave room for the rest of team to take over.
Some of the players I’m expecting to step up are: Ainslee Lawrence, Mackenzie Beames, Nadine Arnold and Candice McKie.
The Emerald Tigers Ladies are a team that battles well together and they will have to work together to overcome the Bears. Their togetherness and unity as a team is how they play their games.
Captain Maria Rawiri is back at lock and she can settle things down and also up the ante to increase the temper of the game.
They have big front rowers in Stacey Kirkman, Nioaka Ross, Miesha Huet and workaholic Cloe Ramsay who can damage the opposition defensive line.
I like the way Ngaire Linde plays as she is always involved in the game and is there when they appear to have no one.
Casey Watkins is back in the centres and down her side will be safe as she can tackle, run the ball and hit the line. A very dangerous player that the Bears will have to watch.
Kelsie Parter at fullback and Bonnie Walsh in the halves work well together and have speed to burn. When they decide to run the ball, watch out.
It’ll be a tough game but I think the Clermont Ladies will edge out the Tigers.
Get down to the Grand Final in Emerald tomorrow night. The Ladies kick off at 5:30pm, followed by the Men’s at 7:30pm. It’s set to be two cracking games of footy and should be a terrific night in Emerald.
I hope to see you down there.