A free shot at minor premier Sale City awaits the winner of Saturday’s AGL Loy Yang North Gippsland Football Netball League qualifying final between Churchill and Heyfield at Yarram Recreation Reserve.
The Cougars were the only team to beat the premiership frontrunner in the home-and-away season, but they fell short against the Kangaroos at both attempts.
The pair are no strangers when it comes to the postseason and this weekend marks their fourth encounter in the space of three finals series.
Heyfield has won two of the previous three and while Churchill will always point to the one in between, Cougars coach Allan Chandler said the most recent had not been forgotten.
“We like to remember the 2014 grand final but last year we had two good battles before they smashed us in the preliminary final,” Chandler said.
“It would be nice to get one back.”
Churchill will regain skipper Chris Williams, with onballer Travis Brighton (injury) and swingman Tim Darby (suspension) also likely starters.
The Cougars warmed up for finals with a 120-point mauling of Gormandale and Chandler enjoyed the opportunity to fine tune his side’s attack.
“You can only play who you play in round 18 but Gormandale still have some top players and it was a good offensive hitout without being a finals-type contest,” he said.
“Heyfield have quality players everywhere so it will be a battle of the midfields on Saturday.”
After an impressive nine weeks, Heyfield’s smooth finals preparation hit an unexpected bump against Traralgon-Tyers United in the final round.
“From our point of view we couldn’t go up or down the ladder and we were a bit flat,” Stubbe said.
“I couldn’t fire the boys up and we took a while to get going but credit to TTU they came out firing.
“It was a good wake up call.”
Heyfield eventually recovered and went on to win the game, but will welcome back experienced pair Shane Birss and Nick Dowse (hand) this weekend.
“It’s an important game because we know how important it is to go through to the second semi-final and not go into a do-or-die situation,” Stubbe said.
“Churchill have a strong midfield and it’s going to be an arm wrestle but we’ll go man-on-man and back ourselves in.”
On paper at least, the Roos boasts a meaner defence, while the Cougars possess the more potent attack, and with both coaches favouring one-on-one contests, there promises to be fascinating matchups all over the ground.
Qualifying Finals (2 v 3) – Saturday, 20 August – Yarram Recreation Reserve
Seniors – Churchill v Heyfield
Reserves – Sale City v Cowwarr
Thirds – Sale City v Glengarry
A grade – Rosedale v Heyfield
B grade – Heyfield v Sale City
C grade – Woodside v Sale City
D grade – Heyfield v Rosedale
17 and under – Traralgon-Tyers United v Churchill
15 and under – Traralgon-Tyers United v Sale City
Categorised in: Finals
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