Last chance for grand final spot

LAST season’s North Gippsland football grand finalists Heyfield and Churchill will play off for a place in this year’s premiership decider.
Nanjing Night Net

Having moved a step closer to claiming its first premiership since 2001 following a barnstorming victory last weekend, Rosedale players will be watching from the sidelines at their home ground to see who their grand final opponent will be.

The Kangaroos will be looking to rebound from its 10-goal loss to the Blues, but will meet a side which has taken flight in past weeks.

While the second semi-final didn’t go to plan for the Kangaroos, coach Damien Birss knows the side needs to focus on the second chance against the Cougars.

“The guys have won the important games to get us here, the games that had to be won. They have earned and won the right to get the double shot, so we will take full advantage of that,” Birss said.

“It has been a difficult season for varying facts. I’m not going to whinge and make excuses, but it is a credit to the guys to be in the position that we are in, and could be in if we get the right result.

“It didn’t look like it would be possible to get a shot at it many weeks ago. The side has toughed it out as Heyfield is renowned for doing and we got the results.”

Standing in front of Heyfield securing a fourth straight grand final berth is a side Birss and his charges have a lot of respect for.

“We know that if we don’t bring our best we won’t get the result,” Birss said.

“Churchill are a strong outfit with experienced campaigners. There have been few changes, with the exception of one or two players, from last year’s premiership team.

“They will take a lot of beating.”

The teams have split their two meetings this season.

The most recent contest came in round 10, when Heyfield was forced to dig deep in the final term, only for the Cougars to kick a late behind to win by one point.

In round one, the Kangaroos secured one of their best wins for the season, defeating the premiers by 31 points at Gaskin Park.

While Birss has some experienced players to draw on, he noted the make-up of his side has been different to previous seasons.

“Sure, we might have some older experienced guys back in this week, but the side is relatively young, most in the side are 22 to 23 years old. We have played seven first gamers this year,” Birss said.

“They might be experienced in the sense of playing at the business end, but they are still very young.

“Everyone thinks that we are experienced campaigners, but it is the culture that is bred into them that makes them perform.”

Coming into Saturday’s contest on the back of a blistering 10-goal victory over Traralgon-Tyers United before accounting for the highly-fancied Sale City last Sunday by 11 points, the Cougars are no doubt confident they can book another grand final berth.

“They are always tough encounters against Heyfield. They are an amazing football club that always ends up at the right place at the pointy end of the season and we really respect that,” Cougars coach Allan Chandler said.

“It will be an intriguing game as we both know how each other plays. They have very good players everywhere and a number of players that we need to restrict or stop.”

With the Cougars boasting the luxury of a midfield with plenty of depth, a forward line which has one of the most even spreads in the competition, and a fleet-footed running brigade, there is plenty Birss and the Heyfield coaching panel will need to negate if it’s to halt the premiers.

Chandler said there hadn’t been any mention around the club of defending its premiership title.

“It was only two weeks ago that we were relying on the results to make finals, now we are one win away from the grand final,” he said.

“How quickly things change in footy. Heyfield was in exactly the same boat.”

HAVING advanced to the reserves grand final for the fifth consecutive season, Heyfield awaits the victor of Saturday’s clash between Sale City and Churchill.

Having met in the thirds qualifying final two weeks ago, Glengarry and Woodside will clash again on Saturday. The winner will meet Traralgon-Tyers United in the grand final.

Saturday at Rosedale:

Football – seniors: Heyfield v Churchill, 2.15pm; reserves: Churchill v Sale City, noon; thirds: Glengarry v Woodside, 9.45am.

Netball -A grade: Rosedale v Woodside, 2.15pm; Bgrade: Heyfield v TTU, 1pm;C grade: TTU v Woodside, noon;D grade: Sale City v Heyfield, 11am; under 17s: Sale City v Yarram, 10am; under 15s: Woodside v TTU, 9am.

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

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