There can be only one king

The Riverine Herald - - SPORT - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

TWO cham­pi­ons of coun­try footy will be­come one to­mor­row.

Pi­cola United, 12 times Pi­cola and District Foot­ball League cham­pi­ons, take on 2017 South East Divi­sion cham­pi­ons Ren­nie.

In the first year com­pet­ing in the new-look com­bined PDFL, the Blues face the Hop­pers to see who re­ally is the top dog.

Both have had as­tound­ing sea­sons, but for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Ren­nie have been a bolt from the blue af­ter fin­ish­ing the home and away sea­son in medi­ocre sixth place.

United have only had small bumps on the road to their own grand fi­nal berth.

Tak­ing out sec­ond in the home and away sea­son, the Blues thrashed both De­niliquin Rovers and Blighty to en­sure they would be the ones chal­leng­ing for the flag.

John Var­coe and his side could be ex­cused for pre­par­ing to face Waaia in the big dance — af­ter all they hadn’t lost all year.

But, Var­coe said, they were pre­par­ing for both af­ter the Blighty preliminary fi­nal.

‘‘We didn’t have any ex­pec­ta­tions, they’re both top teams (Waaia and Ren­nie) and ca­pa­ble of beat­ing any­one,’’ Var­coe said.

‘‘Usu­ally at this stage I’ll be try­ing to pre­pare the team as well as I can, and try­ing to get them out there with ev­ery chance of suc­cess, that’s all that’s go­ing through my mind.

‘‘Jer­ilderie is a nice ground, a sim­i­lar length and a bit wider than ours — there’s no ex­cuse, it’s good for all types of footy,’’ he said.

But Ren­nie en­sured that wouldn’t be the case, a re­sult even PDFL op­er­a­tions man­ager Shane Rail­ton didn’t think would hap­pen.

Which brings us to to­mor­row’s match — set to be livestreamed from the Jer­ilderie grounds on the Riv’s web­site from 1.45pm.

United dur­ing home and away games this year av­er­aged a win­ning score­line of 112-47; com­pared to Ren­nie’s 95-64.

But in fi­nals that num­ber changes dras­ti­cally — United won their two fi­nals scored and con­ceded less: 91-38, while the Hop­pers scored less and con­ceded more: 83-61.

Ren­nie will be tired hav­ing played the ex­tra game, but they clearly hold dan­ger­ous play­ers across the ground.

So do United though — they av­er­age get­ting nearly half the team on the goal-kick­ers’ sheet each week.

It’s tight, but it’s go­ing to be Pi­cola United by three goals.

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