SALE City will tomorrow meet a high-flying young Heyfield line-up which has won six of its past eight matches in the North Gippsland qualifying final at Rosedale.
Returning to finals for the first time since their 2009 premiership, the Kangaroos, like Sale City, would like nothing more than to have another crack at Rosedale, who tomorrow’s victor will meet in the second semi-final.
The Kangaroos will face a Bulldogs’ side mixed with premiership players and youngsters who have proven they can play on the big stage.
The Bulldogs’ attack on a third straight premiership has taken a different path to their previous title tilts, contesting the qualifying final in 2012 after finishing the past two home and away seasons on top of the ladder.
With Heyfield the only side to account for the Bulldogs on two occasions this season, Kangaroos assistant coach Jesse Leeds was under no illusions about the challenge which awaits the side.
“It was disappointing not to get the win last Saturday (against Cowwarr) and carry that momentum, but finals are a different ball game,” he said.
“Sale City has proven they come good when finals come around, I wouldn’t say that past results see us hold a mental edge.
“It doesn’t matter what has happened up until now, we need to be the best side – be the best that we can be on the day.”
With the Kangaroos set to have a full list to pick from, Leeds was confident they could get the match-ups right.
“We know where we need to match-up, obviously City have three big names on the ball – Josh Tollner, Jake Schuback and Nick Hider – but we won’t be focusing too much on them rather on our game,” he said.
“We need to play how we want to play, we want them to be forced to accommodate for us rather than be forced onto the back foot.
“We have had a good season, we aimed for a top four finish coming off the disappointment of last year and the side’s worked hard to get the double chance and we would like to ensure that we get to keep that chance for another week.”
GLENGARRY and Cowwarr will meet in the elimination final on Sunday at Heyfield.
Playing supreme football combining miserly defence with high scoring, the Saints’s season has gained momentum during the second half of the fixture. It’s this momentum coach Cory Bannister hoped would put his team in good stead against the Magpies, who have proven to be the thorn in the Saints side.
Dropping their past three clashes against Glengarry, including the 2011 qualifying final, the Magpies appear to have the edge on paper, but a lot has changed for both line-ups since the previous clash in round 12.
Since then both clubs have accounted for more fancied opponents, and in their current form both could consider themselves the in-form sides of the competition.
For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.
NGFNL finals draw, week one:
Qualifying final, Saturday at Rosedale:
Football, seniors: Sale City v Heyfield, 2.15 pm; reserves: Sale City v Rosedale, noon; thirds: TTU v Woodside, 9.45am.
Netball, A grade: Churchill v TTU, 2.15pm; B grade: Gormandale v TTU, 1pm; C grade: Sale City v Woodside, 11.45am; D grade: TTU v Rosedale, 10.30am; under 17s: Glengarry v Heyfield, 9.30am.
Elimination final, Sunday at Heyfield:
Football, seniors: Glengarry v Cowwarr, 2.15pm; reserves: Churchill v TTU, noon; thirds: Churchill v Glengarry, 9.45am.
Netball, A grade: Glengarry v Gormandale, 2.15pm; B grade: Glengarry v Churchill, 1pm; C grade: Glengarry v Rosedale, 11.45am; D grade: Gormandale v Churchill, 10.30am; under 17s: Sale City v Woodside, 9.30am.