Thoughts of win­ning con­sumes the play­ers

Isis Town and Country - - Sport - By BEN TURN­BALL

HOST­ING a grand fi­nal and not play­ing in it is one of the hard­est things in coun­try sport – and in 2014 the Miriam Vale Mag­pies watched on as South Kolan lifted the premier­ship tro­phy on their home ground.

The Mag­pies then spent the next 12 months want­ing their own chance to win the com­pe­ti­tion and af­ter their 26-22 win over Gin Gin in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at Avon­dale, they get that op­por­tu­nity.

Af­ter be­ing in­volved in a phys­i­cal bat­tle with South Kolan in the ma­jor semi-fi­nal a week ear­lier, Miriam Vale wanted to cruise through to the de­cider.

But Gin Gin had other plans.

Miriam Vale coach Dar­ren Wild­man said he knew the Hawks weren’t go­ing to let them walk into

Miriam Vale coach Dar­ren Wild­man Bot­tom line, mate, at the start of the game we dropped too much ball

the grand fi­nal, and his pre­dic­tions of a tough game came true.

Scores were 10-all at half-time and 16-all in the sec­ond half, and once Miriam Vale jumped to the even­tual six-point mar­gin Gin Gin made its charge.

Wild­man praised the Hawks’ en­thu­si­asm and said there was one area his team had to im­prove in for Sun­day’s grand fi­nal against South Kolan.

“Bot­tom line, mate, at the start of the game we dropped too much ball,” Wild­man said.

“In the sec­ond half we held on to it bet­ter and got the win.”

Ray Kaster in the front row and Jesse Mariner were the best for the Mag­pies, while Shane Blair’s three tries for the Hawks earned him the praise.

Along with con­grat­u­lat­ing his play­ers af­ter the win, Wild­man ap­plauded Gin Gin for the sports­man­ship shown dur­ing the sea­son.

When Miriam Vale’s first aid of­fi­cer and league safe were un­avail­able, Gin Gin was the first club to lend a hand, get­ting the Mag­pies out on the pad­dock.

As Wild­man goes through his work­ing week the thoughts of the grand fi­nal will con­sume his mind.

He said he knew South Kolan were the red-hot favourites for the game and the things he would tell his play­ers this week at train­ing would be to tackle low and hold the ball.

Wild­man also hoped the on-field of­fi­cials were able to keep the tack­les be­low the shoul­ders.

PHOTO: MAX FLEET

MIRIAM VALE v GIN GIN: Miriam Vale's Jake Gower play­ing against Gin Gin in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at South Kolan on Sun­day.

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