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WFL FINALS: Minyip-Murtoa hard to beat

John Delahunty looks for options as Koby Stewart closes in. Stawell vs Minyip-Murtoa.

John Delahunty.

Minyip-Murtoa will take a mixed bag of form into Wimmera Football League finals but enters the end-of-season showdown as one of the hardest teams in the competition to beat.
What I like about the Burras is that they have a good mixture of talls and runners in all three parts of the ground – or in other words – depth and balance.
Minyip-Murtoa has players to mix and match and as a result is heavy on player rotations, which might for much of the season have been more about player management than gaining an edge in specific games.
At times during the season the Burras have had between 60 to 65 rotations a game, and while this is good in keeping players fresh, on some occasions it might have hampered the team’s ability to put games they have dominated to bed.
To be able to rotate players in this way seems a good problem to have but come finals, team leaders will have to carefully manage what they do and be careful to avoid rotating players simply for rotation’s sake.
Minyip-Murtoa has the ability to win this year’s grand final and has been favourite for most of the year.
In my mind, two things that might hinder the Burras’ efforts is lingering expectation in the back of their minds after suffering a narrow loss last year and their forward line functioning to its maximum ability.
From an attacking perspective for the Burras, it’s a matter of getting the balance between tall and small forwards right.
Whether they are willing to press hard with a three-pronged tall forward set-up or be consistently creative in attack with rotations remains to be seen.
The Burras have been the envy of many clubs in the competitions this year based the depth of talent in their ranks.
For a start, Toohey Medallist and ruckman Kieran Delahunty provides first use to his onballers and his mobility around the ground is a mighty asset.
He also has a more than capable change-up partner in no-nonsense Warwick Stone.
Delahunty has great hands and easily rates among the best big men in the competition. He will work as part of a cohesive unit that includes coach Damian Cameron, John Delahunty, Kade Petering and Sam Winfield.
The big man also has the benefit of knowing that this group generates enormous competitive drive when engaged in the contested ball.
Cameron and John Delahunty in particular have strength over the ball and Petering and Winfield the class to finish off by foot.
The Burras’ primary forward is long and lean Brayden Ison, who is having his best season in Wimmera league and taking full command of a generous amount of natural skill.
He is dangerous in front of goal, even from a long way out, and has a good ally in Angus Trethowan, who takes the ball hard and floats into the space well and is always good for a couple of goals.
Fellow tall Jae McGrath has also kicked plenty of goals this year and considering his season will be under pressure to perform on the bigger stage.
Defensively, much comes down to Luke Chamberlain in the key centre half back post and the dash from half back generated by in-form Oliver Young.
Proven defenders also include drifting Justin Garth and in-and-under specialist Tom Cooper.
The Burras also have the benefit of having experienced elder statesman Clinton Midgley who they can use as all-round intuitive defender or as attacking pinch-hitting forward.
In summing up, Minyip-Murtoa deserves to have been premiership favourite for most of the year, but inconsistent form in the lead-up to the finals has opened the door for other challengers.

road to the finals
Coach: Damian Cameron

Round 1: W. 8.10 (58) d Nhill 7.11 (53). Home.
Round 2: W. 12.12 (102) d Warrack Eagles 10.9 (69). Away.
Round 3: W. 13.6 (84) d Horsham Saints 6.6 (42). Home.
Round 4: W. 22.16 (148) d Ararat 7.2 (44). Away.
Round 5: W. 12.9 (81) d Stawell 5.5 (35). Home.
Round 6: W. 11.12 (78) d Horsham 5.12 (42). Away.
Round 7: W. 7.11 (53) d Dimboola 7.6 (48). Home.
Round 8: W. 14.9 (93) d Nhill 11.6 (72). Away.
Round 9: W. 9.13 (67) d Warrack Eagles 7.13 (55). Home.
Round 10: W. 15.12. (102) d Horsham Saints 2.1 (13). Away.
Round 11: W. 22.7 (139) d Ararat 7.5 (47). Home.
Round 12: W. 15.12 (102) d Stawell 6.9 (49). Away.
Round 13: W. 9.8 (62) d Horsham 6.17 (53). Home.
Round 14: W. 26.16 (172) d Dimboola 6.6 (42). Away. *
Round 15: L. 8.10 (58) lost to Horsham Saints 11.9 (75). Home.
Round 16: L. 5.10 (40) lost to Horsham 12.12 (84). Away. **
* Highest score. * * Lowest score
Total: Won: 14. Lost: 2. For: 1439. Against: 800. Points: 56. Percentage: 179.88.
Leading goal-kickers
Jae McGrath 38, Brayden Ison 31, Angus
Trethowan 22.

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Posted on Aug 30 2017

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