Finals dress rehearsals

Rosedale will play Heyfield on Saturday.
Rosedale will play Heyfield on Saturday.

ONLY one change to the North Gippsland football top five is possible heading into the final round.

Yarram can grab top spot if it defeats Traralgon-Tyers United and Sale City turns around its past three weeks of footy and surprise ladder leader Churchill.

While Churchill won't be taking Sale City lightly, over the course of their past 12 quarters of football, the Bulldogs have conceded 363 points while scoring only 89.

Assuming this trend continues and Churchill wins, it gives the Cougars the following week off and means Saturday's clashes between Rosedale and Heyfield, and Yarram and TTU will be repeated in the first week of finals.

IN a preview of the elimination final, Rosedale will welcome Heyfield to town in a game which will most likely resemble the first round of a title fight.

Neither side will be looking to land a knock-out blow and neither will be likely to show their opponents a full bag of tricks, knowing they will be facing off again eight days later.

Assuming there are no injuries and there isn't a blow-out on the scoreboard, the main interest in this game will be how many goals Brandan McDonald can slot for the home side. McDonald sits one behind Cowwarr's Shane Morgan in the race to be the league's leading goal kicker.

YARRAM will host TTU, which has been in terrific form.

The return of coach Michael Duncan and a surge in the form of several senior players has seen the Bombers climb into third spot.

Win, lose or draw on Saturday, the Bombers are going nowhere on the ladder, while Yarram can still claim the minor premiership.

With a few older bodies in the Demons line-up, coach Matt Scholz would love nothing more than the opportunity to rest a few players in the lead-up to their finals campaign if they do finish in top spot.

TTU also has a few veterans, so its approach to selection will be interesting as the Bombers may take the opportunity to rest a few players knowing their finals position is not going to change.

GIVEN it cannot make the finals, Sale City would love nothing more than to take a big scalp by rolling Churchill.

The Bulldogs' recent form has beenlean, but it would not surprise anyone if they let fly with a huge effort in their final game of the year.

When these teams last met, City held a 13-point lead over Churchill at three-quarter time and 18 points five minutes into the final term, but it took a monumental effort for Churchill to recover and take the points.

Cougars coach Chris Williams will not want his side to be in that position again.

City coach Jacob Schuback kicked four goals and had 30-plus touches against the Cougars, with Williams and his coaching group undoubtedly having some plans to minimise the influence of one of the best players the competition has seen over the past decade.

If the Cougars can keep Schuback out of the game and find a way to curb the influence of Bohdi Walker, Churchill should be able to grab the win and secure top spot.

AT the beginning of the year, Glengarry and Cowwarr would have hoped to be on the verge of a finals appearance come season's end. As season 2019 draws to a conclusion, the Saints appear to be much closer.

After orchestrating the upset of the season against Yarram, the Saints looked like they might well march right into the top five this year.

Despite a last-round upset win over finalist Rosedale, a few hiccups - noticeably against Woodside - means the Saints will finish seventh, but the feeling around the club must be a positive one as its looks forward to next year.

Glengarry, on the other hand, has faded as the season progressed.

GORMANDALE will throw everything at Woodside in an attempt to avoid the ignominy that comes with going through the year win-less.

The home team will provide the Wildcats a stern test in its final game of the season.

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