MAJOR SEMI FINAL PREVIEW
With a grand final place up for grabs, there are some huge semi finals this weekend!! It would be a smart person to correctly tip 6 from 6 this weekend with a number of games set to go down to the wire. Get along to Narooma this weekend to see some great football!!
MAJOR SEMI FINAL FIXTURES
Narooma v Pambula (Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma) 2:30pm
Narooma v Pambula (Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma) 11:50am
Tathra v Eden (Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma) 1:10pm
Semi Final Preview
Senior’s– Narooma v Pambula
The two top senior sides are set go head to head this weekend as both chase a grand final spot. The Lions are undefeated at home in season 2017 with their only loss against Pambula by a point away from home. In their two contests at Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma have used fast starts to gain the upper hand against the Panthers. Pambula will be looking to buck that trend this weekend as they aim to gain the ascendancy. In past contests, Dylan Cook has done a job on Lions forward Simon Mackie so look for Cook to go to him at the first bounce. Mackie has been instrumental for the Lions this season and if Cook can do the job on the forward look for the Panthers to run and spread off the half back line and hit the Lions on the rebound. Look for this contest to get tense at times as both teams look to gain the ascendancy.
Narooma Player to Watch: Jason Sauiluma, Had a couple of weeks off towards the back end of the season due to a concussion, look for Sauiluma to be fresh and firing.
Pambula Player to Watch: Justin Dickson, A much better side when Disckson is creating off half back. Prediction: Narooma by 5 Points.
Women’s– Tathra v Eden
This weekend sees the battle of the two heavyweights in the women’s competition as Tathra take on Eden in a grand final rematch from 2016. Although this weekend is set to be a big game, both teams will know that as long as they get to the grand final in coming weeks anything can happen. Two points separated the two sides at the conclusion of the season which saw each side claim the 4 points against each other on their home deck. The Sea Eagles head into the contest on a thirteen game winning streak and although the side has been without Hannah Centra and Rebecca Foster in recent weeks the likes of Cymmon Parker, Elouise Sherwin-Russell and Tarni Evans have stepped up in their absence. The Whalers Kamilla Grubesic, Carra Sheldon and Tammy Whitford will be key through the middle for Eden.
Tathra Player to Watch: Elouise Sherwin-Russell, ‘Elo’ has been a consistent performer for the Sea Eagles over the past two season capped off with a club Best & Fairest in 2017.
Eden Player to Watch: Kamilla Grubesic, Winner of the leagues leading goal kicker award, Grubesic has a fantastic ability to get forward and put vital points on the board for the Whalers. Prediction: Eden by 8 Points.
Development– Narooma v Pambula
Pambula are the only team in 2017 to have a 100% winning record. Pambula’s depth has been on display in 2017 with the likes of Josh Hammond, Tom Hammond, Lewis Hopkins and Ian Smith having played regularly at senior level in past seasons. With Smith and Hammond up forward, the Panthers have an extremely potent forward line that has the ability to put up a score in a short period of time. With the Lions on home soil, the side will be confident that they can put enough pressure on Pambula to challenge for the first spot in 2017’s grand final.
Pambula Player to Watch: Tom Keath, The Panther has played intermittently in 2017 although a key contributor when he does using the ball well in tight spaces.
Narooma Player to Watch: Luke Gardiner, Has kicked 17 goals in 6 games for the Lions in 2017 missing a number of games due to injury. Creates a presence up forward for the Lions and if they can get him the ball the Lions will be a danger. Prediction: Pambula by 16 Points.
MAJOR SEMI FINAL FIXTURES
Merimbula v Pambula (Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma) 10:30am
Bermagui v Merimbula (Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma) 9:10am
Merimbula v Narooma (Bill Smyth Memorial Oval, Narooma) 8:00am
Semi Final Preview
Under 16’s– Merimbula v Pambula
After their round 1 win against the Diggers, the Panthers looked to be the team to beat having claimed a 10 point victory. Since then Merimbula have had the measure of their cross town rivals and shown that they are the premiership favourites having claimed three wins since by double digit margins. The Diggers play a highly skilled brand of football where they look to move the ball quickly into space. Pambula will be looking to negate this with their more physical style of play where they look to keep numbers around the ball and win the contested football. Neither side will want to take on the Giants next weekend who have edged their way into the premiership conversation with some key performances at the back end of the season. With Merimbula winning last years final as underdogs, it shows that anything is possible between these two clubs that will leave it all out on the field in an enthralling contest.
Merimbula Player to Watch: Billy Stubbs, In his last season of under 16’s, Stubbs will be looking to make his mark once again in search of a second consecutive flag. With plenty of senior experience in the past two seasons, Stubbs will be hard to stop. Pambula Player to Watch: Angus Tarpey, Tarpey has been an integral player for the Panther in 2017. Tarpey is extremely versatile with his ability to play in the ruck or a key position forward or back. Prediction: Merimbula by 10 Points.
Under 13’s– Bermagui v Merimbula
The only blemish to the Breakers record in 2017 was the draw to Merimbula in round 7. The Breakers have been outstanding in 2017 evidence by their win percentage and percentage as they head into the finals as the clear favourite. Merimbula have quietly gone about their business in 2017 and have put themselves in a good position leading into the finals. The Diggers have had an even spread of contributors this season with the likes of Damon Kerr, Noah Overend, and Lily Butler-Woollard some of the key contributors for the Diggers. The Breakers look to intercept opposition plays at half back through Jonathan Harkins-McMahon and move the ball quickly forward. This has been extremely efficient for Bermagui this season and Merimbula will need to look for the shorter option this weekend. With a grand final place up for grabs look for Bermagui to flex their muscles this weekend and make a statement.
Bermagui Player to Watch: Raymond Campbell, The small forward not only can do the magical at times, Campbell also plays a key role in getting up the ground and creating opportunities for his fellow forwards.
Merimbula Player to Watch: Paddy Byrne, Merimbula’s ruckman will be the tallest player on the ground on the weekend and a big performance will be needed in finding his midfielders through his ruck taps. Prediction: Bermagui by 21 Points.
Under 11’s– Merimbula v Narooma
If a game is going to top the under 11’s match from last weekend this is going to be it. Narooma has had 3 losses for the season whilst top of the table Merimbula has two both against their opponents this weekend. The two side met in rounds 2 and 16 with the Lions victorious on both occasions by the slimmest of margins, 1 point. The Diggers midfield is one of the best in the league with Beau Bennett and Water Blewitt leading from the front and the Lions counterparts will have their work cut out for them this weekend. The likes of Logan Allison and Tom Wilson wont be taking a step backward this weekend and will be looking to win the battle in the middle. With the Lions on home soil and having the edge, they will be extremely confident of progressing through to the grand final whilst Merimbula will be confident having claimed he minor premiership in 2017. Watch for this matchup to go down to the wire like the previous two classics.
Merimbula Player to Watch: Tynan Murphy, A classy player that has had a solid season in 2017. Go’s under the radar outside of the club although has the ability to kick crucial goals.
Narooma Player to Watch: Ryan Simper, The Narooma forward has been quiet in the two games against the Diggers this season and a big game this weekend would see Narooma take a big step to going into the grand final. Prediction: Merimbula by 7 Points.