Kangaroos bound into finals

HEYFIELD and Glengarry will square off at Rosedale on Saturday with the winner advancing to the North Gippsland football grand final.

Aiming to advance to its second grand final under Adrian Cox’s coaching reign, Heyfield has been at the forefront of the competition all season. The Kangaroos finished the home-and-away season three wins clear of their nearest rivals, including their second semi-final opponent.

Eight weeks have passed since Heyfield and Glengarry last did battle. Going into the contest on the back of four straight victories, the Magpies turned their earlier 89-point loss into a five-goal victory back in round 11 in another ruthless clash, which is associated with the two sides.

Kangaroos president John Tyquin wasn’t worried by past results, rather confident the young side had further evolved and matured.

“The young guys have grown and matured as the year has gone on; with such a young group you don’t know what you are going to get each week,” he said.

“We have seen throughout the season how even the competition has been even more so than last, and Glengarry are certainly one of the best sides left in the battle for the premiership.

“No-one can say any teams a ‘monty’ that’s for sure. “It’s a big challenge, Glengarry will be tough opposition which they showed on Saturday.”

With the seniors and reserves to compete on Saturday, positions in the line-ups will be highly sought with Tyquin noting tough decisions would need to be made by the selectors.

“We are very fortunate that we have 26 to 28 guys that could fit into the senior side easily which of course doesn’t fit into 22,” he said.

“It’s a great thing for the club to have that luxury where we have guys that can come into the side and fill the void just as well, but it’s obviously a tough job for selectors and will be on Thursday night.”

Set to go into the contest full of confidence following Saturday’s victory over Traralgon-Tyers United, Glengarry won’t be getting too far ahead of itself, aware the reigning premiers will come into the contest refreshed and ready to go following the week’s break.

Heyfield’s reserves side will meet TTU, while Churchill will play Cowwarr in the thirds.

No second chances

STRUGGLING to find its groove in its first finals appearance in nine seasons, Traralgon-Tyers United will need to stop Rosedale, who comes into Sunday’s knock-out first semi-final having won three straight matches.

The Blues defeated Churchill by 31 points in the elimination as they seek to take the long path to a second straight grand final appearance.

Before the Blues look too far ahead, they will need to deal with the Bombers, who will be aiming to bounce back from a disappointing showing against Glengarry in the qualifying final, in which they struggled to adjust to the wintry conditions.

Wary of the Bombers, Rosedale coach Nick Leechino said there would be no second chances this Sunday at Heyfield.

“TTU have been the form side of the competition for a big part of the year and will be up and about ready to go on Sunday,” he said.

“Like us, they know that there are no second chances; we have known that and had to play as though each week is our last for a number of matches. It’s do or die now.”

While disappointed his side missed a lot of opportunities in the third term last Sunday, it was the Blues’ final term which pleased Leechino as they slammed home seven goals to two to seal the win.

“It was good to have a strong last quarter, it will put as in good stead heading into the match this week,” Leechino said.

Knowing well the threat posed by TTU, Leechino took confidence from his side’s 28-point victory over the Bombers in round 12 after losing to them by 10 goals earlier in the season.

“Second time around we played good contested footy and made them more accountable, first time around it was a weekend we would rather forget,” he said.

“Like us, TTU have a pretty good midfield, they have plenty of good running players which will match-up well against our engine room. I am expecting the contest to be a real arm wrestle.”

There will be a number of contests around the ground which could be the difference come the final siren.

The Blues’ back six is one of the best on the competition and generates plenty of run off half back, while the side’s small forwards are very effective and compliment the tall timber who proved to be a key difference in the elimination final.

“We are lucky to have a pretty big forward line, however, it’s one thing to have a strong forward structure, but what’s more important is the run and delivery from the midfield and further up the ground and how they deliver it into the forwards,” Leechino said.

Like the Blues, TTU boasts an impressive midfield led by coach Matt Stolarczyk, Pat Sharp and Brian Graham, who is a prime candidate to halt his brother Chris’ influence in the Blues’ engine room.

Failing to fire last Saturday, the Bombers’ forwards will need to rise to the occasion and claim a berth in the preliminary final.

In the reserves, Cowwarr will play Rosedale, while TTU will meet Sale City in the thirds.

NGFNL semi-finals draw:

Second semi-final, Saturday at Rosedale:

Football, seniors: Heyfield v Glengarry, 2.15pm; reserves: Heyfield v TTU, noon; thirds: Churchill v Cowwarr, 9.45am.

Netball, A grade: Churchill v Gormandale, 2.45pm; B grade: Rosedale v Gormandale, 1.30pm; C grade: Gormandale v Rosedale, 12.15pm; D grade: TTU v Gormandale, 11am; under 17s: TTU v Heyfield, 10am; under 15s: TTU v Sale City, 9am.

First semi-final, Sunday at Heyfield:

Football, seniors: TTU v Rosedale, 2.15pm; reserves: Cowwarr v Rosedale, noon; thirds: TTU v Sale City, 9.45am.

Netball, A grade: Heyfield v Woodside, 2.45pm; B grade: TTU v Sale City, 1.30pm; C grade: Glengarry v TTU, 12.15pm; D grade: Rosedale v Sale City, 11am; under 17s: Sale City v Glengarry, 10am; under 15s: Woodside v Heyfield, 9am.