Un­cer­tainty to fully test teams

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

We could go through the mo­tions and pen­cil Har­rowBal­moral in for a semi-fi­nal win over Kal­kee in Hor­sham Dis­trict foot­ball on Satur­day.

Yes, if fi­nals were to fol­low home­and-away form, the South­ern Roos would ei­ther skip away early or trade goals with the Kees for a half be­fore then pow­er­ing away and win­ning by about half a dozen goals.

But fi­nals have a habit of pro­duc­ing some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent from the av­er­age week-to-week foot­ball fix­ture. And it’s this air of un­pre­dictabil­ity that Kal­kee will hope floats across Na­timuk Show­ground and stirs a pot of in­trigue.

Har­row-bal­moral is red-hot favourite to win the flag, which means ev­ery­one else in the fi­nals is hunt­ing the south-west force.

In the past cou­ple of weeks op­po­si­tion team lead­ers would have stud­ied, an­a­lysed, scru­ti­nised and picked the Roos’ game apart in search of weak­nesses.

They would have strug­gled to find many, a fas­ci­nat­ing devel­op­ment con­sid­er­ing many pre­dicted pre-sea­son the Roos would tum­ble down the lad­der.

Nick Pekin has his men fir­ing and would be con­fi­dent his group would have ben­e­fit­ted from a rest last week. He will know that when the teams last met the likes of Will Plush, Har­ri­son Rees, James Staude and Clint Robin­son shone and that he has plenty of other play­ers such as Simon Close and Todd Lawrence, to name a few, to step up in a big game.

Kees coach­ing duo Stuart Farr and Hamish Ex­ell, sim­i­lar to Pekin, will know all about the va­garies of fi­nals foot­ball, as will play­ers such as Simon Hobbs and vet­eran Steve Schultz.

Hobbs and Schultz are part of the goal-kick­ing weaponry for the Kees, along­side Jay­den Kuhne and Lachie Ex­ell.

This game should be out­stand­ing and most likely a pre­view to the grand fi­nal.

Can the Roos con­tinue their surge or will it be the Kees who taste first blood? We’ll wait and see but it’s the Roos who start the con­test as favourites.

Cut-throat ac­tion

The ac­tion will be no less in­tense in a cut-throat semi-fi­nal be­tween Jeparit-rain­bow and Eden­hope-ap­s­ley at Dock Lake Re­serve on Sun­day.

Both teams sur­vived gru­el­ing elim­i­na­tion fi­nals last week, Jeparit-rain­bow clinch­ing a drama-filled clash against Na­timuk United by 17 points and Eden­hope-ap­s­ley com­ing from be­hind to dash Swifts’ hopes.

Last week’s results sug­gest there will be no eas­ing of the pres­sure with both teams putting their cre­den­tials on the line.

While the Storm and Saints can al­ready claim a de­gree of 2018 suc­cess by scor­ing wins in the fi­nals, a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal spot is up for grabs and ev­ery­thing else, for the mo­ment, is ir­rel­e­vant.

But a taste of fi­nals suc­cess might be the tonic that Jeparit-rain­bow needed to spur it­self on in the last month of the sea­son.

Last week against the Rams, ac­cord­ing to club scru­ti­nis­ers, Ben Marra was at the pointy end of the Storm ef­fort, along­side Tyler Edel­sten, Luke Werner and Brad Hunter.

Crit­i­cally, Daniel Bat­son kicked five goals and Peter Weir had an im­pact.

For the Saints, Jak Ryan and Matt But­ler kicked six goals be­tween them as Lachie Mid­dle­ton im­pressed.

Eden­hope-ap­s­ley had to make up a 32-point last-change deficit and a seven-goal fi­nal term un­der­scored a mes­sage that it well and truly meant busi­ness in this fi­nals series.

This con­test is a two-bob each way bet, es­pe­cially on neu­tral ground and con­sid­er­ing it’s one-all be­tween the two dur­ing the sea­son.

BIG TAR­GET: Jeparit-rain­bow’s Brad Hunter gets a kick away dur­ing a Hor­sham Dis­trict elim­i­na­tion fi­nal last week. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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