Millicent Reserves take on North Gambier in WBFL Preliminary Final
The Millicent Reserves will take on North Gambier in this Saturday’s WBFL Preliminary Final to be played at Blue Lake Sports Park, Mt. Gambier with the game to start at 11.45 am.
Last Saturday in the Second Semi Final played at Millicent, North Gambier suffered their first loss for the season when East Gambier defeated them by 1 point, kicking the winning score in the last 20 seconds of the game.
In the First Semi Final played at Casterton on Sunday, Millicent increased their lead at every change, finally scoring a resounding 77 point victory over Portland on the final siren.
In the 2 matches that the sides have played against each other this season, North Gambier won by 4points in round 1 at Millicent and at Vansittart Park in round 10 North Gambier belted Millicent by 104 points.
North Gambier has been the best side over the season with 16 wins and no losses going into last Saturday’s Second Semi Final but that counted for little in the pressure of final’s football.
North Gambier was well served last Saturday by Kingsley Clark, Jamie Yeates, Dean Watson and Kevin Opperman but they had some players who seemed to be a little down on their performances through the season and this cost North Gambier the game in the end.
Millicent was well served last weekend by their older, more experienced players with Adam Allen, Jeremy Hales, Bronte Grosser, Andrew Nitschke, Craig Chittleborough and Leon Thomson being named as best players but it was a pleasing team effort over four quarters with all players contributing to the win.
Maybe North Gambier took it a bit easy last Saturday but I would expect that they will bounce back this weekend with a much more determined and concerted effort against the Saints.
The Saints probably lack a bit in the area of leg speed and they will need to rely on applying plenty of pressure on the North Gambier players and use their experience to advantage.
This should be a close game. North Gambier will start favourites but they did last week too and went down. Millicent will come into the game with confidence after their big win last Sunday over Portland and it would not surprise for them to cause an upset.
In the A Grade this Saturday, it is the battle of the tigers - North Gambier versus Portland. The A Grade game will kick off at 1.45 pm.
In last Saturday’s Second Semi Final, top side North Gambier was outplayed by South Gambier and will now need to re-group this Saturday.
Portland regained some of their early season ‘mojo’ last Sunday when they dominated the First Semi Final after quarter time against Imperials ending up 49 point victors with the two Jarrod’s (Holt and Hayse) proving the difference up forward with 10 goals between them.
In their earlier clashes this season, Portland won their round 8 clash by 26 points and North Gambier reversed the result in round 14 with a 41 point victory.
North Gambier sprung a surprise last Saturday by playing their coach Justin McConnell. He was swathed in helmet and protective padding around his jaw and had little influence on the game. After missing nearly half the season with a broken jaw he seemed out of touch and found it difficult to exert his usual influence on the game.
North Gambier will be without Michael Quirk who has a bad ankle injury that will probably keep him out of action for the rest of the season. Quirk can play up forward or he can play in the backline so his versatility will be missed.
Troy Hosking must be in some doubt as well as he looked very sore last week with a rib injury and took no part in the last quarter.
North Gambier will need an improved effort from the likes of Nick Blanchut, Josh Woodall, Glen Soper and Leigh Symons this Saturday if they are to win. North Gambier ruckmen David Nulty and Scott Flett had quiet days and they will need to lift this week to give their smaller players more use of the ball through the centre and around the ground.
Portland on the other hand was quite impressive in their win over Imperials. Imperials had been the in-form team over the latter part of the season and for Portland to beat them by 8 goals was a good effort.
Portland was well served last week by Sam Fleming, Jaron Quinlivan, Rhys Egan, Tim Chester, Daniel Falcone and Josh Chapman but they had many other useful contributors on the day.
This is a difficult game to predict the outcome. North Gambier goes into the game down on confidence after last week’s loss and Portland go into the game with renewed confidence after a good win.
In another close game I think North Gambier might bounce back this week and win and so advance to the Grand Final next Saturday.
In the Under 18 Preliminary Final the two combatants will be North Gambier and Imperials with their game to start at 9.45 am.
North Gambier eliminated East Gambier from the premiership race last Saturday in the First Semi Final and they looked impressive with their style of play.
North Gambier had an even spread of goal kickers with Matthew Allen, Jake Bottomley, Matt Stark and Tyson Currie all kicking two goals and Jack Pudney, Dylan Munn, Hamish Telford and Alex Bowd showed that they will be players of the future.
In the Second Semi Final last Sunday, Imperials came up against a strong Portland outfit and went down by 6 goals. Ed Purvis, Alex Warner, Michael Collins, Nick Armstrong and Sam Hassell battled hard for Imperials but they need a complete team effort from the rest of their side this week if they are to overcome North Gambier.
In another close game I think that North Gambier is playing some good football at the right time of the season and they might end Imperials season on Saturday.