Redeyes will need to be in rare form to cause turn­around

Shepparton News - - SPORT - By Oliver Caf­frey

Blighty is aim­ing to do the un­think­able and pre­vent a con­sec­u­tive Picola Unit­edS­trath­mer­ton grand fi­nal.

The Redeyes take on a Bull­dogs side this Satur­day smart­ing from a 49-point ham­mer­ing at the hands of Picola last week.

The Blues, who are go­ing for back-to-back pre­mier­ships, went straight through to the Picola District Foot­ball League north­west de­cider, while Strath­mer­ton will be forced to do it the hard way in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at Ber­ri­gan.

There is go­ing to have to be a huge form re­ver­sal from the cor­re­spond­ing game two weeks ago, with Strath­mer­ton belt­ing Blighty by 71 points in a one-sided qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal at Mathoura.

The Redeyes will be hop­ing for bet­ter luck than last week, with their 25-point win against Ber­ri­gan com­ing with their backs against the wall.

Play­maker Tom Draf­fin and co­cap­tain Judd Barnes pulled out of the game that morn­ing, leav­ing the Blighty with a mam­moth task.

The Redeyes even lost key de­fender Cody Jor­dan in the first five min­utes of the clash to a sea­son-end­ing an­kle in­jury and still man­aged to get the job done.

It was also achieved without su­per­star Jed Brain hav­ing his usual im­pact, kick­ing just one goal as Le­nard Clarke stepped up with a best-on-ground per­for­mance.

But Brain is a proven per­former and should rise to the chal­lenge against the Bull­dogs.

Strath­mer­ton strug­gled for high achiev­ers in the sec­ond semi­fi­nal, with Brock Palmer, Tyron Hill, Daniel El­lis, Mikal Bloom, Mar­cus Cleary and Max Can­field try­ing their best.

Lee James could be a trump card for the Dogs af­ter kick­ing two goals against Picola in his first game since July 22.

James has played only five games this sea­son af­ter boot­ing 47 last year and 94 in 2015.

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