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Roos and Lakers to taste success

GUNS FIRING: Classy Stephen Owen has made a difference for Rupanyup this season and must play well if the Panthers are going to upstage Harrow Balmoral.

By DEAN LAWSON
Harrow Balmoral will earn the right to rekindle Horsham District Football League hostilities with Kalkee when it wins a hard-fought qualifying final against Rupanyup on Saturday.
The Southern Roos have clearly been the second-best outfit in the competition this season and will maintain their edge over the Panthers, this time at Stawell’s North Park.
The clash headlines a big opening weekend of finals action which also includes a Sunday elimination showdown between Taylors Lake and Noradjuha Quantong at Balmoral.
Drama last weekend confirmed the final five with Harrow Balmoral and Rupanyup winning the double chance, Taylors Lake slipping to fourth, and in the most profound move, Noradjuha Quantong replacing Edenhope Apsley in fifth spot.
Harrow Balmoral has enjoyed a simmering rivalry with Kalkee in recent years, a fact far from lost on coach Brent Penny.
“We want a win so we can get a crack at Kalkee but we won’t be taking anything for granted,” Penny said.
“We’ve only lost three games this year, two of them against Kalkee, and our team this weekend is as strong as it’s going to get.”
Harrow Balmoral has been the subject of scrutiny all season after reshaping its list in response to player departures and injuries. Yet it has emerged in good shape from the minor rounds.
“It’s turned out well once we got going. We’ve had quality kids step up and new blokes Josh Vickery and Gareth Egan have been outstanding,” Penny said.
Harrow Balmoral has an even spread of weapons across the lines. Larry Leeming and Tom Anson provide linking dash from defence, a dangerous mid-field running group of Egan, Callum Hobbs, Chris Heath, Hamish Ellis and Matt Ward will try to work over the Panthers and finishers Penny and James Staude will attempt to ice the cake.
Red-hot
But Rupanyup is also a dangerous outfit. In fact the Panthers boast some of the best players in the competition in mobile Stephen Owen, back in the team after an absence last week, Nathan Sachse in red-hot form and a potent spearhead in coach Zane Bigmore.
“We need all our guns firing,” Bigmore said.
“But what was good about last week was there was a lot at stake and we lifted.”
Bigmore said Tim Webb, harassed by injury, remained a 50-50 starter but otherwise the team was in good shape.
Fellow forward Brock Grainger suffered an injury last week but Bigmore had him in the teeth of goals in an early team and Webb playing out of a forward pocket.
Skipper Paul Trotter will marshal the Panther troops in defence and Nathan McNally looms as a dangerous player on a flank or on the ball.
Harrow Balmoral will sneak home by 13 points.
Driving force
A cut-throat elimination final will be close early but Taylors Lake, in its first final in eight years, will pull away from Noradjuha Quantong and win by about 30 points.
Lakers coach Paul Brooks summed it up when he said self belief had been a driving force behind the Lakers’ success this year.
“At the start of the year we started slowly in the face of a lot of expectation. But when you have 10 new faces in a team you’re not going to gel straight away,” he said
“But after that initial period, a few positional changes and so on, we’ve become more of a settled line-up. We copped a fair bit of criticism when we lost the first three games but it never fazed me and we stuck to our guns.
“The boys are not getting over-awed by the occasion. They are a level-headed bunch and know it won’t be easy come Sunday but also have confidence.”
Taylors Lake has had a major winner in full forward Adam Hall who has fed off a running group which has been a model of consistency for the second half of the season.
Critical
Andrew Seers, Pat Purcell and Dean Harberger have combined with Aaron Lewis, Chris Farrell and Craig Britten to feature prominently this season.
Luke Carr of course has been a critical player across half back and super-fit forward Mark Toomey could well slip under the guard of defenders in the finals.
Noradjuha Quantong might struggle to convert possession into goals against a determined Lakers defence.
Joint coach Simon Dandy was right in saying the Bombers were more than ‘simply making up the numbers’ while his coaching off-sider Chris Hilet said the team would attempt to tap into the excitement of finals.
“We’ve let ourselves down a couple of times this year but I think we’re thereabouts,” Hilet said.
Key-position defender Tom Cooper has been a stand-out for the Bombers this year and ruckman Adam Jolley might pose a problem for the Lakers brains trust.
Brent McIntyre will be important either on the ball or in defence and Staceys Jayden and Ryan, Jordan Huf and Jye Smith will test their opponents for pace.
But Taylors Lake, despite missing the double chance, is on a mission and will be too strong.

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Posted on Aug 25 2010

Posted by on Aug 25 2010. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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