edfl grand fi­nal liftout

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS - By Davyd Reid

War­ragul In­dus­tri­als will be shoot­ing for long awaited premier­ship glory when they take on Catani in the Ellinbank Dis­trict Football League grand fi­nal on Satur­day.

The In­dus­tri­als won through to their first se­nior grand fi­nal in 21 years, and will look to con­tinue their strong form fol­low­ing on from the mo­men­tum gained from de­feat­ing their op­po­nent in the qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal.

The In­dus­tri­als will en­ter the match fresh af­ter a week off, and have been build­ing nicely for the oc­ca­sion un­der new coach Josh O’Brien.

Hav­ing pro­gressed to a top three fin­ish, the In­dus­tri­als ac­counted for Catani in a tight qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal be­fore a dom­i­nant sec­ond half saw them over­run Neerim-Neerim South to ad­vance.

While for­mer Gee­long and Gold Coast AFL player Nathan Ablett has been a draw­card, he was rested for the sec­ond semi-fi­nal where the In­dus­tri­als still had no prob­lems ac­count­ing for the Cats.

The In­dus­tri­als have a good blend of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence, with tal­ent across ev­ery line.

With re­li­able de­fend­ers such as vet­eran Mathew Wil­lis, Ben Northover and Cooper Minichiello, Josh Peter­son is able to play a dan­ger­ous role. His ac­cu­rate dis­posal by foot with a rak­ing left foot kick quickly turns de­fence into at­tack.

John Ikupu has added much-needed height to the ruck, serv­ing tal­ented mid­field­ers Tyson Bale and Tye Hol­land to en­gi­neer at­tack from cen­tre clear­ances.

Will Jol­ley is an­other dan­ger­ous propo­si­tion for the op­po­si­tion. The abil­ity of Jol­ley and Hol­land to drift for­ward and also kick goals has been a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in the sides suc­cess this sea­son.

Shane Brew­ster finds plenty of the ball, whether in the mid­field or at­tack, while Josh Seri has also chipped in at times. Up for­ward, Corey Nick­els is just as ca­pa­ble go­ing for con­tested marks as on the lead. He has a good leap and for the most part is a good kick at goal. The ex­pe­ri­enced Shane Ing­ham proves a good foil.

Young play­ers Dy­lan Hol­land, Will Gib­son and River Ford have also shown flashes of bril­liance at times in pos­i­tive signs for the In­dus­tri­als head­ing into Satur­day’s match.

How­ever the team won’t find the task easy, with Catani and Neerim-Neerim South throw­ing down the chal­lenge at stages in their fi­nals matches to date.

While Catani will need to re­cover quickly from a hard slog in heavy con­di­tions against Neerim-Neerim South, the Blues will be con­fi­dent that they have the tal­ent to take it up to the In­dus­tri­als.

The Blues have a hard-run­ning team and the bat­tle of the mid­fields could prove in­stru­men­tal in the out­come.

Owen Fitz­patrick could be dam­ag­ing up for­ward should he get enough op­por­tu­ni­ties, while Ryan Ea­ton is a livewire and should also prove a hand­ful for the In­dus­tri­als de­fence.

Blues mid­field­ers have an abil­ity to push for­ward and also as­sist.

Vet­eran An­to­nio Ben­venuto, Paul Pat­ti­son, Cody Ban­bury, Nicholas Visser and Nathaniel Rodda can all find plenty of the ball.

Wade Haysom has de­vel­oped as a muchim­proved tall, com­ple­ment­ing the run of Dale John­son while John and James Alexander go hard at the ball.

Dy­lan Wil­liams shows flashes of bril­liance and could be a dan­ger­ous player for the Blues on the day. Vet­eran Luke McFar­lane has come into the team at the back end of the sea­son to pro­vide valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence in de­fence.

Bran­don Scam­mell will set him­self for an en­thralling ruck bat­tle with Ikupu that could prove in­stru­men­tal in deter­min­ing the out­come.

The venue for Satur­day's Ellinbank Dis­trict Football League grand fi­nal re­mained up in the air at time of go­ing to print.

With the con­di­tion of Western Park re­main­ing a concern, league of­fi­cials were due to meet with Baw Baw Shire man­age­ment at the ground at 4pm yes­ter­day.

EDFL gen­eral man­ager Ken Moore said while the league hoped the match would re­main at Western Park, Garfield and Yar­ragon were al­ter­na­tive venues that were avail­able.

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