Bur­ras favourites

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Wfl Finals - BY COLIN MACGIL­LIVRAY

Af­ter a litany of near misses fol­lowed by a down year in 2018, Minyip-mur­toa fi­nally ap­pears ready to win an elu­sive Wim­mera Foot­ball League se­nior pre­mier­ship. The Bur­ras claimed the 2019 mi­nor pre­mier­ship with an un­de­feated sea­son and stamped themselves as the class of the league with a host of dom­i­nant per­for­mances. With the high­est scor­ing of­fence and the stingi­est de­fence in the league, Minyip-mur­toa is a de­serv­ing pre­mier­ship favourite. How­ever, in the fi­nals the side will have to con­tend not only with its op­po­nents, but the weight of ex­pec­ta­tions of its sup­port­ers and its pre­vi­ous September short­falls. The Bur­ras were knocked out in a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal in 2015 be­fore con­sec­u­tive grand fi­nal losses in 2016 and 2017 – the first of which was a two-point heart­breaker. While those losses are still fresh in the mem­ory of many around the club, coach John De­lahunty said this year’s team bore lit­tle re­sem­blance to that of two years ago. “I don’t think we re­ally feel too much pres­sure or ex­pec­ta­tion,” he said. “We’ve got a com­pletely dif­fer­ent

play­ing group com­pared to the cou­ple of grand fi­nals that we lost. It’s a new ex­pe­ri­ence for a lot of peo­ple.

“A lot of teams talk about how young their lists are – and that might just be the na­ture of foot­ball in western Vic­to­ria nowa­days – but I think we’ve man­aged to blood a lot of play­ers in the 18 and 19-year-old bracket.

“They’ve re­paid us in spades; they’ve been fan­tas­tic and a lot of them will be play­ing their first fi­nals games.”

Among the young play­ers lauded by De­lahunty were Corey Morgan, Jake Bal­lagh and Bray Cul­li­nan, none of whom have missed a game this sea­son.

“They bring some of that leg speed we’ve lacked in the past, and their ball han­dling skills are re­ally im­pres­sive,” he said.

“They’ve had a great sea­son in­di­vid­u­ally, but a rea­son for that is be­cause they’ve been play­ing the way that I’ve asked in terms of our team ap­proach.”

While the club’s youth move­ment has brought plenty of en­thu­si­asm to the team, it is some of the veter­ans who have made the Bur­ras a true pre­mier­ship contender.

De­lahunty and Tim Macken­zie – lured back to the Bur­ras af­ter spend­ing time with SANFL club Glenelg – have a strong pres­ence across half back, in­ter­cept­ing op­po­si­tion kicks and turn­ing the ball the other way.

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