South Western Times - - Front Page - Justin Fris

South Bun­bury and Bun­bury will lock horns in the first ever SWFL women’s derby grand fi­nal at Hands Oval on Sun­day. In ar­guably the most an­tic­i­pated women’s foot­ball match ever to be held in the South West, a Bull­dogs vic­tory would seal a pre­mier­ship three-peat and etch the name of Jon Farr’s squad into SWFL im­mor­tal­ity. A Tigers win would not only com­plete a per­fect sea­son, but in­flict the Bull­dogs’ first ever fi­nals de­feat since the com­pe­ti­tion’s in­cep­tion. Here, Bull­dogs cap­tain Bron­wyn Walker and Tigers skip­per Ebony Bil­cich get up close with the pre­mier­ship cup.

South Bun­bury will com­plete a per­fect sea­son in 2019 if they man­age to de­feat Bun­bury in Sun­day’s SWFLW grand fi­nal against Bun­bury at Hands Oval.

But head­ing into the cam­paign, the fo­cus for new Tigers coach Maxwell Jetta was only about one thing – en­sur­ing his play­ers had fun.

By im­ple­ment­ing a fam­i­ly­ori­ented fo­cus at train­ing and on game day, the Tigers have looked im­pres­sive across all ar­eas.

With solid num­bers on the track, the Tigers had no is­sues with player depth.

Ahead of Sun­day’s de­cider, Jetta told the South West­ern Times he had kept things very calm at Hands Oval.

Jetta’s take

“We went for a lit­tle bit of a run on Satur­day just to keep our legs tick­ing over,” Jetta said.

“We didn’t want to relax too much.

“It’s im­por­tant we keep up our stan­dards of skill and keep­ing our team sup­port up. Train­ing on Mon­day night wasn’t too stren­u­ous but we made sure we weren’t slack­ing off with our skills.”

The Tigers were given an almighty fright by the Bull­dogs dur­ing their clash in round 17, with the reign­ing premiers bolt­ing out to a 13point lead at quar­ter time.

Jetta feels his play­ers took plenty from the clash, which could hold them in good stead for any chal­lenges thrown at them on Sun­day.

“They were just on the ball from the start,” he said.

“And I think the girls re­alised it wasn’t go­ing to be a walk in the park and they had to come out and play from the start.

“When we brought them in at quar­ter time, I told them that this is what the fi­nals se­ries would be like.

“Teams can jump you and it can be very hard to come back. There’s a lot of hard work you have to put in when go­ing up against top teams like that, but we had a lit­tle bit of luck and man­aged to get over the line.”

On a per­sonal level, foot­ball and fam­ily mean a great deal to Jetta, who is im­mensely proud of his team ir­re­spec­tive of the re­sult.

“Footy is a big part of my whole fam­ily,” he said.

“A lot of the Jetta boys are play­ing in the AFL and do­ing great. Es­pe­cially when it comes to fi­nals, we all try our best and that’s when you need to stick to­gether.

“Footy is a place where I can relax and be peace­ful – get away from it all, but at the same time, show the girls what footy is all about.”

Allen’s take

Bun­bury have taken a dif­fer­ent road to the grand fi­nal this sea­son, suf­fer­ing four de­feats at the hands of the Harvey Bulls and South Bun­bury.

It was a stark con­trast from their open­ing two seasons, when the Bull­dogs tasted de­feat only once.

Round seven’s 75-point loss against the Tigers proved to be a real wakeup call for Jon Farr’s side, ac­cord­ing to as­sis­tant coach Carly Allen.

“That was our turn­ing point,” she said. “We started re­build­ing and fo­cussing on what we needed to do.”

Both sides re­newed hos­til­i­ties in round 17 and although the Bull­dogs were nar­rowly de­feated by 12 points, they took plenty of so­lace from their ef­fort.

“We were up at three quar­ter time and didn’t end up win­ning, but we weren’t nec­es­sar­ily dis­ap­pointed,” Allen said.

“Be­cause it gave us hope that we could do it against South Bun­bury. It was only a nar­row loss, so we are still mo­ti­vated to play like that again this week­end and hope­fully take out the win.”

Se­lec­tions for Farr and his coach­ing staff will be crit­i­cal this week, with a few play­ers battling in­juries.

Dy­namic ruck Cian Par­sons is highly doubt­ful for the clash fol­low­ing a se­ri­ous knee in­jury in Sun­day’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal win against the Harvey Bulls, while the Bull­dogs will seek med­i­cal clear­ances be­fore de­ter­min­ing whether both Abby Gel­lard and Courtney Babich will be avail­able to play.

How­ever in a mas­sive bonus for the reign­ing premiers, Tr­isha Lake and Kristy Larsen will be avail­able, with their big game ex­pe­ri­ence in­valu­able on the big stage.

Allen, who played three matches this sea­son prior to her pregnancy, has en­joyed work­ing with Farr, who has con­tin­ued the solid foun­da­tions laid by for­mer coach Sean Creasey.

“Jon’s re­ally ap­proach­able,” Allen said.

“The girls get along well with him and I hear that he’s a bit of a dif­fer­ent coach to the player he was on the field back in the day.

“He’s a bit more cool, calm and col­lected with it all.”

Hav­ing been in­volved with Bun­bury in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion from day one, Allen be­lieves a pre­mier­ship on Sun­day would be sat­is­fy­ing, con­sid­er­ing the early doubters and player turnover dur­ing the off­sea­son due to uni and WAFLW com­mit­ments.

“It would be ex­tra spe­cial be­cause so many peo­ple wrote us off at the start of the sea­son,” Allen said. “Last year we were un­de­feated and this year we had quite a few losses.”

Picture: Cal­lum Hunter

Bull­dogs mid­fielder Ruby Ma­hony takes on the Tigers de­fence.

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