Early taste of finals

SPECTATORS could get a taste of this year’s North Gippsland football grand final on Saturday, when ladder leader Yarram travels to Tyers to take on the second-placed Bombers.

The Demons have led the way all season, remaining undefeated in the first 13 rounds of the competition, and most recently claiming a 47-point win over Heyfield.

Traralgon-Tyers United has experienced similar form, losing only two games this season. 

Yarram will likely finish the season on top of the ladder, particularly given it’s eight points ahead of TTU.

Demons coach Matt Scholz, who is sidelined with an ankle injury, said the game could prove to be the most challenging one yet for his side.

“It’ll be real contested footy, and if the weather keeps on like it has been then there’s going to be a lot of contested football,” Scholz said.

“Hopefully their ground is in good nick. I went and watched them play Glengarry and it was starting to chop up a bit and if that’s the case it’s going to be a hard contest.”

While Scholz will likely be sidelined for the blockbuster, he will not be the only one missing from the line-up, with Jake Anderson (foot injury) and Louis Rodaughan (leg) expected to miss this weekend.

The Bombers also head into the game on a high after a 73-point win over Cowwarr.

ROSEDALE coach Sam Bristow hoped a home ground advantage would help the Blues secure a win over Churchill.

The Blues sit fourth but remain equal on points with fifth-placed Woodside, and a loss to the Cougars could mean the loss of a top five spot.

Churchill, sitting a game above the Blues in third, will be looking to get a decent score on the board early after a two-point loss to Rosedale in round four.

“Churchill are a really good team and if we want to play finals there’s no point just being there — we want to beat a good team,” Bristow said.

“They’ve got a core group that’s been together a long time and they know how they all play and they don’t have one person kicking a lot of goals, they have a really long list of players that can do it.”

The Cougars head into the game after a four-goal win over Sale City, while the Blues had an impressive win over Gormandale.

AFTER a four-goal loss to Churchill at home last weekend, Sale City to stay at Stephenson Park to play Woodside in a sixth plays fifth showdown. 

City coach Jacob Schuback said it would be one of the last chances the Bulldogs would have to maintain their dream of finals football.

“We’ve had a fair few injuries over the last few weeks, so hopefully we’ll have a few of them back this weekend, which will strengthen our side,” he said.

“We want to play finals football, and if we don’t win this weekend it’s not as if we can’t make finals, we’ll just make it a lot harder on ourselves.” 

The Wildcats head into the game full of confidence after a 93-point win over Glengarry at the weekend.

The last time the sides met was in round five, when the Bulldogs claimed the victory by five points.

HEYFIELD will host Gormandale in a seventh plays eighth battle. 

The Kangaroos are coming off a loss to Yarram, while the Tigers gave Rosedale a scare but couldn’t run out the full game and will be hungry for a win.

The two sides last played each other in May when the Kangaroos claimed a 50-point win at Gormandale.

COWWARR will head across to Glengarry in a battle of the league’s two bottom teams.

Cowwarr is yet to win a game this season, and tomorrow could be the final chance the Saints has to claim victory.

The Magpies, who sit ninth, have faced the same predicament after winning only one of their games this season — against Cowwarr in round five by four points.

Magpies coach Drew McGrath said his players needed to be competitive and to put themselves in the “right head space to come away with the win”.

“We’re at the point now where wins are great, but the development of our young group is the most important thing and making sure these guys are still enjoying their football,” he said.

“I’m trying to give these boys something positive to take away from the season.

“From our starting 18 in round one, we have about six of them remaining due to injury and illness so obviously times are tough on that front, but you have to keep on moving forward.”