edfl grand fi­nal liftout

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS - by Davyd Reid

Long­warry will shoot for its first premier­ship in 50 years when it plays off against Ny­ora in Satur­day’s Ellinbank Dis­trict Football League grand fi­nal at Western Park. It would mark a fairy-tale fin­ish to the sea­son for the Crows, who ear­lier this sea­son cel­e­brated the 50-year reunion of its 1968 West Gipp­s­land premier­ship. Stand­ing in the way will be a resur­gent Ny­ora side making its first grand fi­nal ap­pear­ance since go­ing back to back in 2007. A strong sea­son of re­cruit­ing saw the Saints burst back into the fi­nals for the first time since an elim­i­na­tion fi­nal exit in 2008 in a big way, fin­ish­ing atop the lad­der at sea­son’s end with just two losses. The Saints will sweat on the fit­ness of gun mid­fielder Dy­lan Heylen, who suf­fered an in­nocu­ous in­jury mid-sea­son that has turned into a lengthy stint on the side­lines. With or with­out Heylen, the Saints boast a strong team that has taken just about all be­fore them this sea­son. The Crows have been one of few sides to push the Saints this sea­son and will give them­selves ev­ery chance to cre­ate what many would re­gard as an up­set. Epic match ups will be on show around the ground in what should be a tan­ta­lis­ing con­test. It will be­gin in the mid­dle, where Saints veteran Nick Car­rigy will en­gage tal­ented Crows tall Ni­cholas Red­ley in an epic duel. Both sides boast an ex­plo­sive mid­field, the Saints led by the likes of Kal­lon Rigby, Ryan Spooner, Rhys Ban­croft, Ben Hal­las and Jor­dan An­der­son. An­thony Gal­ley also pro­vides value as a link up player, while Lach­lan Fievez will be aim­ing to im­press as a player still el­i­gi­ble for un­der 18s football should he get the call up. Rus­sell Lehman has been win­ning pos­ses­sions at will in re­cent weeks and will be a player the Saints will need to stop, but they will also need to mind­ful of the likes of Wells brothers Danny and Casey, while Kane Old­ham and Ri­ley Run­dell also boast ex­plo­sive pace. Daniel Fry is the key tar­get for the Crows in at­tack, and he will be look­ing to re­spond af­ter go­ing goal­less against the Saints in the sec­ond semi-fi­nal. He has re­ceived sup­port from his mid­field­ers and Har­ley Jones, who has pulled off some spec­tac­u­lar goals to go with his ex­plo­sive pace dur­ing the fi­nals. Saints coach Fia Tootoo will mar­shal his de­fence and may take the job on the Crows spear­head in a con­test that could also have a ma­jor bear­ing on the re­sult. Ben Schultz has been added to the Saints mix this year to add some fire­power up for­ward and as­sis­tance to Ilan Os­man. The Crows de­fence will have their work cut out, but you can count on un­der­rated play­ers Ken Towt, Leigh McDon­ald and Aaron Serong step­ping up. In a suc­cess­ful year for the club, Long­warry have all three of its football sides play­ing off. It’s re­serves side has been the dominant team in the com­pe­ti­tion but will have their work cut out against an Ellinbank team that has pow­ered through the fi­nals from third-po­si­tion on the lad­der. The Crows’ un­der 16 team are also for­mi­da­ble op­po­nents who will en­ter slight favourite against War­ragul In­dus­tri­als fol­low­ing their week off. Catani will be aim­ing to go back-to-back in the un­der 18s but stand­ing in the way is a Neerim-Neerim South side that has lost just once this sea­son. The Blues will take con­fi­dence from the fact they in­flicted the Cats’ only loss for the sea­son in the sec­ond semi-fi­nal.

Ny­ora veteran Nick Car­rigy and Long­warry tall Ni­cholas Red­ley will en­gage in a gru­elling ruck duel through­out Satur­day’s Ellinbank Dis­trict Football League grand fi­nal at War­ragul’s Western Park.

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