Cats look to tame Tigers

Wy Yung’s Daniel Perrin Lindenow’s Justin Blair
Nanjing Night Net

WY Yung will go into tomorrow’s East Gippsland football grand final as a firm favourite, having comfortably accounted for Lindenow in all three previous encounters in 2015.

There has been a look of determination in the eyes of the Tigers throughout the season as they search for premiership redemption following last year’s grand final loss to Stratford.

Having dominated the home-and-away fixture to finish with the minor premiership, Grant Mooney’s side comes into the match unbeaten in its past nine matches. Included in that streak was a draw against Paynesville and two wins over Lindenow, with Wy Yung’s average winning margin in 2015 against the Cats more than 10 goals.

The Tigers have kicked in excess of 100 points in those three outings and will be confident their powerful forward line can continue that trend this weekend. Mark Sellings has been in strong goal kicking form again this season, while Brayden McCarrey and James Young combined for 11 goals in their first final against Stratford.

With a high-scoring forward line at their disposal, Mooney knows the Tigers will need to be dominant at centre clearances and around the stoppages to provide enough opportunities.

“Both midfields are probably pretty even, it’s probably more our forward six that have been playing pretty well,” he said.

“We probably play two different styles of footy; they’re more in and under and the contested stuff, and we do a bit of that and then get them on the outside, that’s when we play our best.”

While Lindenow will have a tough time keeping the Tigers’ forward line under wraps, the Cats will also present a share of challenges at the other end of the ground.

The stand-out for the Cats in 2015 has been Darren Allen, an electric talent who has proved a massive problem for opposition sides to curtail all year. After being a possible AFL draftee only a few years ago, the Scotch College product has been a class above much of his competition all season.

With 36 goals this season, Allen has led the way for his side, but has Nicholas McConville, Lachlan Dumaresq and a number of options around him to help the Cats kick a winning score.

Wy Yung’s second year coach knows keeping the Cats livewire in check will be crucial to his side’s chance of victory.

“I don’t think when we’ve played them we’ve had a key match-up for him, he’s a bit hard to match-up on so I suppose it’s just trying to stop his influence,” Mooney said.

“But he’s been playing well, young Gouldy (Paul Gould) is playing well, (Justin) Blair is their engine room, they’ve probably got half a dozen blokes that we’ll look at.”

As touted by Mooney, key to the Cats’ chances of victory will be their ability to dominate throughthe midfield. Lindenow coach Paul Carroll knows their hopes will likely rest on the forward pressure and ball use of their centre group.

“I reckon the best two midfields (Stratford and Lindenow) played off last week… so hopefully we can get hold of them (Wy Yung) in the centre,” Carroll said.

“I reckon their back six is their weakness, Wy Yung. We just want to get repeat entries into ours and try to limit the damage, to get our boys to work back really hard and clog the space.”

The fact their opponents will go in as firm favourites is not something which phases Carroll, who believed his young side would be ready to take the game on tomorrow.

“We’re young, we’re vibrant, we don’t fear anything and the best thing is that we play as a 22,” he said.

“They really care about one another and are committed to the cause.”

Having known for a vast majority of the season that they would have a double chance come finals allowed the Tigers to freshen up those players in need of a rest. It’s a move which Mooney believes has paid dividends.

“I think this year we’re a bit better prepared, so we’ve learnt a lot,” he said.

“We sort of knew probably three quarters of the way through the year we were going to finish top two, so we were able to rest players over the last month of our home and away games. So we’re in a pretty good position at the minute.”

Despite last year’s disappointment, the experience of going through grand final week has been a positive for the Wy Yung side in 2015.

“It’s great that we’re playing in a grand final, but we didn’t set out our goal at the start of the year, we just wanted to give ourselves an opportunity,” Mooney said.

“With the week off we had a big session Saturday morning, and then went over and watched who we’d be playing.”

While both sides are confident about their chances, neither is sure of what their final line-up will be come tomorrow afternoon.

The Cats will tomorrow be without Scott Davidson, who was handed a four-week suspension for ‘unbecoming conduct’ against Wy Yung’s Daniel Perrin in the final round of the home-and-away season.

Davidson had been an important cog in the wheel for Lindenow this season, playing 11 matches and booting 10 goals.

The Cats will also hope youngster Richard Hobson can prove his fitness in time for the first bounce, after being under an injury cloud.

However, Carroll doesn’t believe either will serve as a distraction ahead of the big dance, as the club looks to win its first senior premiership since 2011.

“Hopefully we can get it done, it’s going to be a good day weather wise so footy should be the winner,” he said.

A win tomorrow would add to Lindenow’s tally of six East Gippsland league premierships, the most of any club currently in the league.

Having experienced similar success over recent years, tomorrow’s grand final will be Wy Yung’s fifth in the past eight seasons, although their only victory from those matches came in 2008.

While the club will have seven teams competing across both football and netball, Mooney said club stalwarts had been in his ear about the importance of the day’s biggest clash.

“You can play well all year, but if you don’t play well on that day it doesn’t mean a lot,” he said.

“We’ve been very disciplined when we played them and I think last game we played them they were with us until half time, and then we gradually broke away from them. They’re a hard side, so Saturday will be no different.”

Saturday at Bairnsdale City Oval:

Football – seniors: Wy Yung v Lindenow, 2.15pm; reserves: Boisdale-Briagolong v Stratford, noon; under 18s: Wy Yung v Lucknow, 10am; under 16s: Lakes Entrance v Paynesville, 8am.

Netball -A grade: Wy Yung v Stratford, 1.50pm;B grade: Stratford v Wy Yung, 12.40pm;C grade: Lakes Entrance v Wy Yung, 11.30am;D grade: Lakes Entrance v Wy Yung, 10.20am; under 17s: Wy Yung v Lindenow, 9.10am; under 15s: Lakes Entrance v Lindenow, 8am.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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