Yanac vies for triple premier­ships

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Classified­s - BY SI­MON KING

Yanac Hockey Club’s quest for con­sec­u­tive triple premier­ships is back on track af­ter its Open and Women’s teams both won their re­spec­tive pre­lim­i­nary fi­nals on Saturday.

They will join Yanac’s Un­der-16 team in Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion grand fi­nals this week­end.

Grand fi­nals re­turn to War­rackn­abeal’s Anzac Park for the first time in six sea­sons.

Three top games are promised, with the top two teams in each divi­sion meet­ing in all three games in re­peats of semi-fi­nals played two weeks ago.

War­rack Hoops and Yanac Tigers are the lead­ing teams in the as­so­ci­a­tion’s Open com­pe­ti­tion, with ei­ther or both hav­ing played in all 31 grand fi­nals con­tested in the com­pe­ti­tion’s his­tory.

They have met in 10 of 15 grand fi­nals played since the com­pe­ti­tion re­sumed in 2005, and another chap­ter in this fierce ri­valry will be writ­ten on Saturday when they play off for the 2019 premiershi­p.

This sea­son th­ese teams could not be more closely matched, as head-to­head they have recorded one win each and have played one draw in three games, and they have both scored four goals against each other.

Both teams bring a wealth of fi­nal’s ex­pe­ri­ence into the game which is bal­anced

by a good mix of young play­ers. Key for the Hoops will be run­ner-up as­so­ci­a­tion best and fairest Cameron Bardell, who pro­vides a solid pres­ence in de­fence along with Mar­cus Wil­liamson at cen­tre half back.

Up for­ward team cap­tain Royce Ben­nett and younger brother Oskar will team up with Jordan Wil­liamson and Kevin Mills to pro­vide scor­ing op­tions.

The Alexan­der broth­ers Nathan and Todd will be cru­cial to the Tigers’ chances, but they will be strongly supported by Luke Re­ichen­bach, Josh Cramer and proven fi­nals per­former Kim Croot.

No mat­ter the cir­cum­stances of th­ese teams meet­ing they al­ways play out an intense game of hockey with rarely more than one goal be­tween them at the end. There is no rea­son to be­lieve that this game will be any dif­fer­ent.

Women

In a re­peat of the past three Women’s grand fi­nals, Dim­boola Roos and Yanac will play off for the 2019 premiershi­p in what should be another close game.

When they met two weeks ago it took full time, ex­tra time and six penalty strokes each to sep­a­rate the teams.

This next en­counter could well be just as close.

With Dim­boola play­ing in its ninth grand fi­nal in the past 10 sea­sons, and Yanac fea­tur­ing in its sev­enth grand fi­nal in a row, both teams will bring a wealth of fi­nals ex­pe­ri­ence into this game, along with sev­eral keen younger play­ers.

The fo­cus will be on the mid­field bat­tle be­tween Dim­boola’s El­iz­a­beth Klinge and 2019 best and fairest Erin Alexan­der, Yanac, but th­ese two are not the only play­ers ca­pa­ble of turn­ing the game off their own stick.

The Roos team also fea­tures the sea­son’s lead­ing goal scorer in Ad­ina King, the pace of Jen­nifer Klinge on the for­ward line and Brooke Mcmaster’s ex­pe­ri­ence to the mid­field, while Yanac’s line-up in­cludes po­ten­tial match win­ners in Mikayla Farm­ers, Natalie Hard­ing and So­phie Pip­korn.

If both teams play to their po­ten­tial, this game could go into ex­tra time if not a penalty shootout to de­cide the 2019 pre­miers.

Un­der-16

With Yanac War­riors go­ing into the grand fi­nal un­de­feated since be­fore their premiershi­p win this time last year, it is dif­fi­cult to see them drop­ping this game, but with the pres­sure of a fi­nal the Raiders must be in with a chance if they can set­tle the nerves first. Ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers Mikayla Farm­ers, Jasper Croot, Alis­ter Dickinson and Nathan Col­bert lead a set­tled team that also in­cludes sev­eral younger play­ers who de­spite their in­ex­pe­ri­ence all play an im­por­tant role in this team.

Max Good­win will lead the Raiders as they at­tempt to win their first premiershi­p since 2015 and will look for valu­able as­sis­tance from Johnathan Dixon and Imo­gen Wil­liams in de­fence and Skye Braisby and El­iz­a­beth Dixon in at­tack.

This should be an en­ter­tain­ing game to start the day and re­gard­less of the re­sult some ex­cit­ing young play­ers who will form the fu­ture of the Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion will be on show. Pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal re­sults – Open: Yanac Tigers 4 (Goals, N. Alexan­der 2, A. Ma­grath, T. Alexan­der; Best, T. Alexan­der, N. Alexan­der, L. Re­ichen­bach) de­feated Nhill Rangers 0 (S. Bone, J. Re­ichelt, L. Marra). Women: Yanac 3 (E. Alexan­der 3; E. Alexan­der, N. Hard­ing, M. Farm­ers, C. Beat­tie) de­feated Kaniva 0 (L. Stim­son, S. Wil­liams, J. Wallis, O. Wil­liams). Un­der 16: Kaniva Raiders 1 (M. Good­win; M. Good­win, S. Braisby, I. Wil­liams) de­feated Nhill Leop­ards 0 (K. Clark, T. Mcbride, C. Koop).

ON THE RUN: Nhill Rangers’ Sam Vonarx, left, and Nathan Alexan­der, Yanac Tigers, race for the ball. Pic­ture: SI­MON KING

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