Tough as­sign­ment in pre­lim­i­nary

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

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

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