Tough assignment in preliminary
To use old Australian cardgambling slang, the result of Wimmera Football League’s preliminary final on Sunday is a laydown misère. Right? Wrong! For those unfamiliar with the expression, a lay-down misère refers to a contest where the result is a foregone conclusion or perhaps easy victory for the more fancied protagonist.
This week, many would consider Sunday’s contest between Minyip-murtoa and Warrack Eagles all but a foregone conclusion.
The feeling is that Minyip-murtoa, after leading the competition all season and falling only five points short of beating Horsham last week, is ready to skip past the Eagles to resume pleasantries with the Demons in the season finale.
And surely, a Warrack Eagles side missing coach, forward and on-field leader Ryan Mckenzie with a debilitating foot-ankle injury is no match for the Burras.
But make no mistake! Warrack Eagles are still well and truly in the mix and after producing a big final term to storm home over Horsham Saints in their semi-final, would love nothing more than wearing the underdog tag this weekend.
There is some raw talent on the Eagles list and let’s also not forget the preliminary final is on the neutral territory of Coughlin Park in Horsham where in the past there have been upsets a plenty.
Warrack Eagles have been like the little kid pulling at the shirt tails of the competition’s big boys for much of the year.
The time has come for the Yarriambiack force, Mckenzie or no Mckenzie, to fully realise that it, too, has grown up and is as much a big boy as anyone else.
The Eagles had a tough assignment in overcoming willing Horsham Saints last week. While workhorse tall Scott Adams produced another lion-hearted effort, it was the likes of Charlie Wilson, back from pathway commitments, and Josh Bibby who said plenty about the Eagles make-up.
Both kicked three goals against the Saints, Wilson producing his majors early in the contest and Bibby collecting his three at the finish.
Critically, the Eagles also had Shannon Argall, growing in confidence with every game since his return from injury, standing tall with five goals.
Argall looms as a pivotal player against Minyip-murtoa’s talls this weekend, but if he attracts too much attention the Eagles might swoop at ground level.
Left-footer Kieran Ellis was another who continued to provide a high bar in performance last outing and perhaps rates as the Eagles’ most consistent player, and Dan Bell also looms as an important contributor in attack.
The season tells us that Minyip-murtoa should beat the Eagles, especially after producing an effort last week that almost snatched them a come-from-behind victory.
The Burras, more than six goals down at quarter time in the second semi-final, whittled away at the deficit to fall agonizingly short at the final siren.
Importantly for the Dunmunkle force, players such as ruckman Kieran Delahunty and fellow talls Jae Mcgrath and Clinton Midgley were prominent, which spells danger for the Eagles.
Tireless John Delahunty and coach Damian Cameron were also busy players and young Cooper Bateson again impressed in his big finish to the season.
Minyip-murtoa will survive a mighty test and win by 13 points.
Horsham meanwhile, will have another breather to plan for its tilt at another premiership, as Horsham Saints farewell the season.
Horsham appears primed with Rhona Conboy, Simon Hobbs and John Wood leading the charge last week.
Does experience count for anything in the finals? You bet it does.
Also featuring in the best players last week were Josh Mibus, Brad Hartigan and Tim Wade.
IN DISPUTE: Minyip-murtoa’s Nick Kelson tackles Horsham’s Josh Mibus during Wimmera Football League’s second semi-final at Warracknabeal. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER