GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
It all comes down to this weekend at the Pambula Sports Complex where we will crown the premiers for 2017. With some great grand finals on the card, it is set to be a massive day of football. The day will conclude with the senior grand final where the premiership is as wide open as it has been in a number of years!
Grand Final Preview
Senior’s– Narooma v Pambula
The rematch of the major semi final between the Narooma Lions and Pambula Panthers is set to be the most anticipated match not only this weekend but also the most anticipated seniors final in a number of seasons. 3 of the 4 contests between the two teams this season have been 15 points or less with Narooma holding the edge over Pambula in the 2017 season. The Major Semi final saw a tale of two halves where Narooma dominated the first half before Pambula kicked into gear and made a game of it in the fourth quarter. After a relatively comfortable win against Tathra last weekend, it will be interesting to see what style of game play Pambula play this weekend. The Panthers played an open, running game against the Sea Eagles where they utilised the ball through the centre of the ground with plenty of switches on display. This style of play was far different from the one utilised against Narooma in the second half where the side looked to get the ball long at every opportunity. With a week off, and the Lions will be fresh coming into the clash and will look to put the pressure on Pambula’s midfield that will allow Narooma to get first possession of the ball and get forward. In the major semi final Mackie showed his class in the first half, and a good start for the Lions will see the club put immense pressure on their rivals. Narooma hold a slight edge in the midfield although this is set to be a cracking final, will minor premier Narooma snap their 31 year senior premiership drought?
Narooma Player to Watch: Jordan Lang, The league best & fairest has had another solid season in 2017 and a big game in the ruck for Narooma will give his side the edge, with Narooma’s highly touted midfielders getting first use.
Pambula Player to Watch: Charlie Shepherd, The Panthers half back had a great game against Tathra last weekend starting a number of Pambula’s forward attacks. Will see plenty of action off the half back line.
Prediction: Narooma by 8 Points.
Women’s– Tathra v Eden
It will be a grand final rematch of the 2016 final where Eden were able to cause a major upset defeating the previously undefeated Tathra side. 2017’s script is shaping up to be quite similar leading into 2017’s final with Tathra going in favourites against a solid Eden side. Injury has once again struck Tathra at the wrong time of the season with Tarni Evans likely to miss the clash due to an ankle injury. The Sea Eagles wont want a repeat of last years final and will be eager to kick away early to put the result in no doubt. Tathra put on a footballing display in the major semi final putting the Whalers to the sword, and although this weekend may not be as easy as in Narooma, Tathra will be confident of getting the job done. The Whalers showed their defensive resilience last weekend in a heart stopping final quarter in their win against the Panthers and another solid defensive performance will be needed this weekend to stop Tathra’s forward structure.
Tathra Player to Watch: Samantha Crowley, Didn’t play in 2016 although has become an integral part to the Sea Eagles line-up in 2017. Has been a solid contributor up forward for Tatha kicking 29 goals for the year.
Eden Player to Watch: Kamilla Grubesic, Played last weekend against the Panthers although was restricted in her movements. Grubesic still had a big impact on the match playing forward although Eden will be keen to get her back into the middle.
Prediction: Tathra by 22 Points.
Development– Pambula v Narooma
If the major semi final is anything to go off the development grand final is set to be another great contest between the Panther and Lions. The Panthers head into the clash without veteran Chris Clapton with a shoulder injury and potentially Tom Keath who was called up to the senior grade last weekend and may be required again. The Panthers are set to get Tom Hammond back into the line-up after suffering a hand injury 4 weeks ago. The Lions had a good hit out last weekend against the Sea Eagles where a big fourth quarter has set up another contest with the minor premiers. Tony Bromage came off late in the win with a hamstring injury and could be in doubt for the fixture. With potential changes to both teams, this match could go either way.
Pambula Player to Watch: Alex Hammond, Has been in and out of the senior side in 2017 and looks to be the odd man out for the Panthers senior side. Will be looking to make a statement in the development side.
Narooma Player to Watch: Tyson Mikolic, The Narooma youngster will be a solid senior player for the club in future years although looks set to miss out on a spot in 2017. Will be a big player for their development team.
Prediction: Pambula by 12 Points.
Grand Final Preview
Under 16’s– Merimbula v Pambula
After their round 1 loss, the Merimbula Diggers have won 12 straight games to come into the under 16’s final as favourites for the clash. The Pambula Panthers come into the clash off the back of a tough outing against Broulee/Moruya where the Giants got to within 3 points before Pambula ran out 9 point winners. These two sides have played in a number of grand finals over a number of years leading back to their under 13’s days with grand finals between the two being highly competitive encounters. The Diggers were without Lawrence Davis in their major semi final win and getting the speedster back into the line up will bolster their squad again. Jordan Chapple-Stroud and Finley Cooke are Pambula’s main men in the midfield and the two will need to be at their best as they take on a star studded Merimbula midfield. The Panthers will need to stem Merimbula’s free flowing ball movement in this weekends contest and ensure that they control the stoppages to get the edge over the minor premiers. Merimbula are deserving favourites coming into this matchup and will be looking to make it back to back premierships.
Merimbula Player to Watch: Jedd Martyn, The under 16 league best and fairest has had a remarkable season and will be looking to top it off with a premiership.
Pambula Player to Watch: Kynan Baker, The silky mover utilises the ball well once in possession. Has stepped up his game in this years finals.
Prediction: Merimbula by 13 Points.
Under 13’s– Bermagui v Pambula
Bermagui have been the competition front runners in 2017 and will be heavy favourites coming into the 2017 final. The Breakers will take on the Pambula Panthers who knocked out the Merimbula Diggers in straight sets last weekend thanks to a 13 point win. A three goal to none first quarter last weekend was the key in Pambula’s win and if the side is able to replicate that this weekend the Panthers will have a shot in upsetting the minor premiers. The Panthers host a number of A grade players that will cause the Breakers trouble in the likes of Billy Cooke, Zac Keogh, Jai Van Camp and William Seach although Bermagui also have A graders that will be able to cause headaches for Pambula Coach Royce McKay. Look for Pambula to keep the game close for as long as they can to give themselves the opportunity to cause a major boil over in the under 13’s. The Breakers will be hoping for back to back premierships in the grade.
Bermagui Player to Watch: Campbell Moresi, It looks like Moresi could be a trending in the same direction as his father, having come of age at the back end of the season to feel at home and dominate opposition teams.
Pambula Player to Watch: Zac Keogh, Has played off half forward in recent weeks and could be used as a defensive role on prominent Bermagui backman Jonathan Harkins-McMahon.
Prediction: Bermagui by 24 Points.
Under 11’s– Narooma v Bermagui
Three weeks ago at three quarter time of the minor semi final between the Breakers and Giants, it looked like Bermagui’s season was over trailing by 3 goals at three quarter time. What a difference three weeks makes with Bermagui through to a second consecutive grand final and set to take on the Narooma Lions this weekend. The minor premier Merimbula Diggers were out in straight sets having kicked on 1 goal during the finals series in which they were convincingly beaten by both northern clubs. With a week off the Narooma Lions will be refreshed and raring to go as they look to put in a performance like they did two weeks ago when they moved the ball well to beat Merimbula and claim a grand final appearance. After missing the finals last season, the Lions will be keen to show the league how far they have come in season 2017. Narooma ruckman Jarra Weston was best on ground against the Diggers two weeks ago and Bermagui will need to win the midfield contest if they cannot win the ruck contests. This match is set to be another great contest although Bermagui hold the edge in 2017 having beaten Narooma on both occasions.
Narooma Player to Watch: Logan Allison, Has been one of the Lions best in 2017. Is a no nonsense player who tackles hard and uses the ball well.
Bermagui Player to Watch: Tyge Matter, After missing the minor semi final, Matters was important in last weekends preliminary final for the Breakers holding the Diggers scoreless.
Prediction: Bermagui by 2 Points.