Yanac form omi­nous

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SIMON KING

Three Yanac teams will again go into Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion fi­nals this week­end as favourites af­ter fin­ish­ing the home-an­d­away sea­son on top of their re­spec­tive lad­ders.

They are also in prime po­si­tion to re­peat their 2018 pre­mier­ship tri­fecta.

Other teams will be try­ing to stop them, start­ing with semi-fi­nals at Nhill’s Davis Park on Satur­day.

In open com­pe­ti­tion, Yanac Tigers take on War­rack Hoops in a sec­ond semi-fi­nal with a place in the grand fi­nal on the line, while Dim­boola Bur­ras meet Nhill Rangers in a first semi-fi­nal.

The Tigers and Hoops have a long his­tory of tough en­coun­ters, hav­ing met at least once in most fi­nals se­ries dur­ing the past 30 sea­sons. Although the Tigers have the bet­ter record, the Hoops have earned their share of vic­to­ries.

De­spite their un­beaten record so far in 2019, the Tigers have been less dom­i­nant, se­cur­ing wins in the last few min­utes of play.

The only games from which the

Tigers did not earn full points this sea­son were against the Hoops.

In the first semi-fi­nal, Dim­boola Bur­ras hold the sta­tis­ti­cal ad­van­tage over the Rangers in their head-to-head record this sea­son.

The Rangers have been get­ting closer to the Bur­ras as the sea­son has pro­gressed and if they can put their best team on the field, and play their best hockey, are ca­pa­ble of caus­ing an up­set.

But the Bur­ras fi­nals’ ex­pe­ri­ence should see them win a tough game. Women’s com­pe­ti­tion fea­tures Yanac up against Dim­boola Roos in a sec­ond semi-fi­nal and Nhill Thun­der­birds meet­ing Kaniva in a first semi-fi­nal.

Yanac and Dim­boola have played off in the pre­vi­ous two women’s grand fi­nals and have won the last eight pre­mier­ships between them.

The in­ter­est will be in which team earns a place in that game first.

In the first semi-fi­nal, re­cent form sug­gests Nhill Thun­der­birds should earn the right to progress to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal next week.

Nhill fin­ished com­fort­ably in third place on the lad­der while Kaniva only con­firmed its place in re­cent weeks.

In un­der-16s, Yanac War­riors meet Kaniva Raiders in a sec­ond semi-fi­nal and War­rack Re­vengers take on Nhill Leop­ards in a first semi-fi­nal.

EL­E­VATED AT­TACK: War­rack Hoops’ Ben Wil­liamson con­trols an aerial ball ahead of op­po­nent Jonathan Hors­fall dur­ing Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion ac­tion. Pic­ture: SIMON KING

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