CMFNL – Historic opportunity

CRUNCH. Kerang and the Mallee Eagles will meet tomorrow for a spot in the Central Murray Football Netball League grand final.HISTORY beckons for the winner of tomorrow’s Central Murray Football Netball League second semi-final between Kerang and the Mallee Eagles.
Nanjing Night Net

The Blues – who have won the past three CMFNL premierships – will be aiming to make their 10th grand final appearance since 2004, whilst the Eagles are aiming to make their first grand final since the last Mid-Murray Football League decider in 1996.

Kerang goes into the match as strong favourites, thanks to its finals record and having last weekend off after finishing the home and away season as minor premiers.

The Eagles rallied in the second half last weekend to defeat Woorinen by 18 points – the club’s best finals result since the formation of the CMFNL.

However, the challenge of taking on a seasoned finals campaigner will be difficult for Bo Alexander and Tyson Mihocek’s men.

The Eagles lost to Kerang by 35 points back in round 10, and last defeated the Blues in 2013.

Caine Hillier and Matthew Batten loom as key players fort the Lalbert-based side, but may struggle to kick goals against the likes of Jon Murphy and Mark Walter.

The ruck duel between Warren Carlyle and Troy Davis will be critical to the result, with Kerang utility Ryan Gillingham to battle against Marty Kelly across the midfield.

If the Eagles are to produce an upset, Braidon Bennett and Patrick Batten need to stop Blues forwards Troy Thamm and co-coach Troy Coates from getting the ball. However, with the depth of Kerang’s playing list, other Blues’ midfielders will fill this void.

The loser of this match faces a preliminary final encounter between the winner of Sunday’s first semi-final between Woorinen and Koondrook/Barham, with the victor to have a well-deserved weekend off.

PREDICTION: Kerang will win its eighth consecutive second semi-final with a 30-point victory.

Close result on the cards

SUNDAY’S Central Murray Football Netball League first semi-final between Koondrook/Barham and Woorinen shapes up to be a cracking encounter.

The Raiders’ premiership hopes remain alive thanks to a 26-point win against Tooleybuc/Manangatang in Sunday’s elimination final, whilst the Tigers lost to the Mallee Eagles by 18 points in last weekend’s qualifying final.

Although Woorinen has won both times these sides have met during season 2015, one kicked has separated both teams at the final siren.

If the Raiders are to progress to next weekend’s preliminary final, Matt Dean needs to stop Doug Palmer from kicking goals.

Palmer kicked two goals in both of the Tigers’ wins against the Raiders, with Doug Beames achieving the same feat.

Michael Grant will go to Beames, with Shane Guerra to propel the Raiders back into attack across the half-back line.

The battle between Tiger stalwart Matthew Iannucci and the Raiders’ Tom Lamb will shape the outcome of the match, with Jake Hare to provide assistance for the border side.

Bradley Heffer is proving to be a vital forward for the Raiders, evident in his three-goal effort on Sunday. His work alongside Lucas Matthews will be influential for Neil Bradley’s men, but the likes of Jake Schmidt and William Gunter have other ideas.

A preliminary final encounter between the loser of the second semi-final between Kerang and the Mallee Eagles beckons for Sunday’s victor, whilst the loser will begin preparations for season 2016.

PREDICTION: Woorinen’s finals experience will result in a six-point victory.

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

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