Coaches face se­lec­tion dilem­mas

South Western Times - - Swfl Grand Finals - Mitchell Wood­cock

THE claws will be out this Sun­day when Har­vey-Brunswick-Leschenault and Bun­bury meet to de­cide the 2017 South West Foot­ball League pre­miers.

The com­pe­ti­tion’s two top teams have found them­selves right­fully in this year’s de­cider and the an­tic­i­pa­tion for who breaks their re­spec­tive premier­ship drought is at fever pitch.

But be­fore both teams hit the field come Sun­day, there is some heartache to be had, with team se­lec­tions set to see a num­ber of play­ers miss out.

The Li­ons could make two changes this weekend, with co-cap­tain Jor­dan Sell and mid­fielder Ty Ar­mitage set to make them­selves avail­able.

Coach Derek Hall said the duo would have to get through train­ing first if they were to be picked.

“Whether those two don’t get up or two blokes miss out, there is go­ing to be some heartache,” he said.

“That is the hor­ri­ble part.” Bun­bury coach Jamie Nani said Ryan Davis and Kyle Bas­sett were a chance to play as well after miss­ing the weekend’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

“I think with ev­ery grand fi­nal there is a hard luck story,” he said.

“Xavier (Wil­liamson) and Gae­ton (Mwanan­gela) have also been good in the re­serves lately and are a chance.”

The Li­ons will be look­ing to buck the trend of semi-fi­nal win­ners los­ing grand fi­nals, after Carey Park and Col­lie Ea­gles fin­ished se­cond in the past two years.

Hall said the Li­ons had trained hard dur­ing the week’s break and were pre­pared for Sun­day’s clash.

“We trained as per nor­mal dur­ing the week and also added a ses­sion on Satur­day,” he said.

“There was lim­ited con­tact but they work hard.

“Word from them (the play­ers) was that they pulled up like it was a game ex­cept for all the bumps and bruises.”

Nani said the Dogs had a light ses­sion on the track on Mon­day, with their fi­nal run to be to­mor­row night.

Hall said that if Nani be­lieved the Bull­dogs had played at “50 per cent” dur­ing their semi-fi­nal, then the Li­ons would have to im­prove.

“I read those com­ments in the pa­per (South Western Times, Septem­ber 14) with in­ter­est,” he said.

Hall said a key to their suc­cess would be the match-up of de­fender Thomas Quaife on for­mer AFL mid­fielder Brett Peake.

“He (Peake) was strong again at the weekend,” he said.

“Tom has played on him three times now and is a good match-up for him when he goes for­ward.

“If he stays on him when he goes up the field or we hand that over is some­thing we will have to think about. But Peake al­ways looks dan­ger­ous.”

Nani said he “trusted” Peake to make the call of where he played.

“I back him to go where he needs to go to help us,” he said.

“The space of Hands Oval suits him.”

Nani said the ex­pe­ri­ence of for­mer Li­ons premier­ship de­fender Matt Do­herty, as well as that of Codey Hay, Matt Martin and Peake would be re­lied upon this week for the younger play­ers.

“You al­ways lean on those guys to some ex­tent,” he said.

“Do­herty is a player who has won one so we will be us­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence as well.”

Hall said he was im­pressed with young Bull­dog Braiden McMullen, who he be­lieved was a key con­trib­u­tor in the Bull­dogs’ win on Sun­day.

“I was re­ally im­pressed as he ran hard and linked up well,” he said.

Hall ac­knowl­edged Bun­bury had a strong mid­field with McMullen, Ai­dan Clarke, Jor­dan Falco and Harry Creasey all play­ing well.

But he said he backed his side to win the bat­tle in the cen­tre.

“There will be some ter­rific match-ups all over the ground,” he said.

Nani said the Bull­dogs would have to im­prove in their mid­field if they were to stop a re­peat of the semi-fi­nal loss.

“We got beaten in the mid­dle and by their over-lap out­side run­ning,” he said.

“We need to get our game back to the level it was a few weeks ago.”

Hall ac­knowl­edged that the Li­ons did not have a “con­ven­tional” for­ward line, but be­lieved Kristin Thorn­ton and his team­mates would com­pete.

“We think we have the fire­power up for­ward,” he said.

“We have run him (Thorn­ton) through the mid­field and may again this weekend.

“He is a hard match-up for most teams.”

Nani said Hay had done a “rea­son­able” job on Thorn­ton in the past and would likely do it again, while the ver­sa­til­ity of fel­low de­fender Travis Justins could help with the team’s struc­ture.

“Trav can go for­ward for us as well,” he said.

“We will throw around all those ideas.”

Nani said young for­ward Pa­trick Far­rant could stand up on the big stage of the grand fi­nal after hav­ing a quiet game at the weekend.

“He was ser­vice­able against Har­vey-Brunswick-Leschenault last time,” he said.

“But he is def­i­nitely one of those play­ers who could turn it on.

“Paddy has great hands and a great leap.”

Bounce­down is set for 2.30pm on Sun­day.

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

Bun­bury’s Pa­trick Far­rant could pro­vide the X-fac­tor for Bun­bury in this weekend’s South West Foot­ball League grand fi­nal against Har­vey-Brunswick-Leschenault.

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