AGL Loy Yang North Gippsland Football Netball League minor premier Sale City’s sights are firmly set on securing the first spot in this year’s grand final when it meets Heyfield in Saturday’s second semi-final.
Star utilities Justin McLay and Jacob Schuback, midfielder Brad McKay, backmen Mitch Evans and Brad Parsons and small forward Rowan Bell are all on track to return for the clash at Gordon St Recreation Reserve.
Heyfield’s strong run of form and impressive qualifying final victory against Churchill has won the Kangaroos plenty of admirers, but the Bulldogs have no interest in relinquishing their title of flag favourites.
“It’s good to have the opportunity to play finals footy and I would be very disappointed if we don’t turn up to play this weekend,” Sale City coach David Piasente said.
“This is why we put our bodies on the line all year and we don’t want to finish on top then go out and get beaten.
“We’ve set a strong culture of hard work and reward for that work so we’re looking forward to it.”
After winning 17 of their 18 home-and-away games, the Bulldogs go into the game full of confidence and refreshed following last week’s rest.
Piasente was aware of the threat Heyfield posed, particularly in the form of Shane Birss, Josh Stubbe and Beha brothers, Jesse and James, but not concerned about the home-ground advantage.
“We don’t care where it is or what type of day it is we’ll just turn up and play,” he said.
“It was good to have the week off and we covered a lot of ground at training.
“We trained on Saturday and worked through our structures and zones and went over our game plan.”
Heyfield coach Josh Stubbe said he was happy to keep rolling with the momentum that has seen his side rocket into serious flag contention over the past 10 weeks.
The qualifying final win was built on the back of clean hands, composed ball use and disciplined defending.
“The balance of our side is really good at the moment,” Stubbe said.
“We’ve got those couple of tall guys that can take a good overhead mark and really strong pack marks and that’s really important for us especially when we get stuck we can afford to go down the line because we’ve got that option and know they are at least going to put up a contest and bring the ball to ground.
“That versatility we’ve got to be able to throw guys forward or into the mid or back and three or four that can go through the ruck is so important come finals time because if we need to make a change we’ve got that ability.”
With balance the strength of both teams, the one-on-one battles, particularly at the centre clearances, are likely to be crucial.
Second semi-finals – Saturday, 27 August – Gordon St Recreation Reserve, Heyfield
Seniors – Sale City v Heyfield
Reserves – Heyfield v Sale City
Thirds – Yarram v Sale City
A grade – Woodside v Heyfield
B grade – Glengarry v Heyfield
C grade – Rosedale v Sale City
D grade – Sale City v Heyfield
17 and under – Sale City v Traralgon-Tyers United
15 and under – Heyfield v Traralgon-Tyers United
Categorised in: Finals
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