By Alyce Collett
Blackburn vs Mount Evelyn
Mt Evelyn finished 4th on the Premier Division table and will be looking to beat Blackburn and keep their season alive.
The sides have met twice this season, with Mt Evelyn winning the first encounter before Blackburn dominated the second encounter and won quite comfortably.
Mt Evelyn coach Daniel Byrnes believes the key to victory is capitalising on opportunities.
“Blackburn are a fast, fit and skilful team, they have played some great footy against us and are capable of scoring heavily,”
“We will need to capitalise on our opportunities, we have been inefficient with our ball use which has hurt us, and of course the old cliche, we need to get first hands to the footy.”
One thing My Evelyn will be certainly looking to improve on is their scoring. In both matches against the Burners, they haven’t scored a goal in the opening half, so if they manage to score early on while restricting Blackburn’s scoring, they are going to make things a lot easier for themselves.
Upwey Tecoma vs East Ringwood
Upwey Tecoma finished 3rd on the ladder, and will be keen to beat East Ringwood in order to take on either The Basin or South Croydon next weekend and keep their season alive. Lose and their season is done.
The Tigers will be hoping to replicate the result of the previous match between these two sides, where they comfortably defeated the Roos by 102 points.
Upwey Tecoma coach Bernie Ryan believes that East Ringwood ‘cannot be under estimated’ and that Upwey Tecoma’s ‘willingness to play as a team’ will be the key to getting the win on the weekend.
One noticeable component of the Tigers’ game is their scoreboard pressure, or more specifically their ability to make opponents not score.
On six occasions this season, the final score of their opponents has been single figures, and on a further four occasions their opponent’s total has been under 20 points. In addition to that, they’ve kept their opponents goalless in 30/52 quarters, with 18 of those quarters being completely scoreless quarters.
They will need to make sure they keep the scoreboard pressure high, and it will go a long way to them winning.
Outer East Division
Yarra Junction vs Thornton-Eildon
There have been a mixed bag of results between the two sides this season. Alongside a draw, there have been a massive 49 point win to the Eagles, and a not so big eight point win to Thornton – Eildon.
In all three encounters, the Eagles have led at quarter time, but what happens in the middle two quarters has been an indicator in what the final result will be. In the round six and 13 clashes, the side that has ended up losing have struggled to score while the other side has crept ahead.
Yarra Junction coach Patsy Boxell is clear on what Thornton – Eildon’s strengths are and what the keys will be for her side to get the win this weekend.
“Thornton Eildon are a strong team who have really built their ability to run the ball and switch,”
“Thornton Eildon have really surprised the league this year with their midfield running and backline strength,”
“Yarra Junction focuses on working together on and off the field and having a fun, positive and strong environment to play and learn in,”
“We enforce a great space for all and perform based on our teams ability to work together and support each other,”
Healesville vs Monbulk
The top two sides battle it out for the right to have the week off and direct passage into the Grand Final.
Healesville finished the home and away season undefeated, while Monbulk’s only losses have come against Healesville, so they will be looking to end that run of successive losses against Healesville.
Healesville coach Mitchell Hay said Healesville learned a lot about Monbulk the first two times the sides met this year, and will no doubt be expecting another tough contest.
“Monbulk have been a top side all year to finish 2nd on the ladder with only the two losses is a great season,”
“We played them early in the year and the contest was hard fought, then we didn’t see them again till the final round, which once again was similar to the first time around with it being a tough battle,”
“We learnt a lot about them as they would have with us.”
Hay also believes the key to getting the win this weekend will be Healesville’s ability to adjust to the different conditions that they will face this weekend.
“The key for the win this week will be, being able to adjust to the smaller ground and the finals intensity,”
“Finals are completely different to the general season and I believe if we stick to our structures that things will push us in the right direction to get through to the final day,”
Meanwhile, Monbulk coach Lucas Jurey isn’t underestimating the challenge ahead of the Hawks this weekend.
“Healesville have earned the tag of favourites going into this finals series, undefeated seasons don’t come around all that often and it’s a huge achievement from a really well coached and well drilled team,”
“That being said, our girls are hungry to get a chance against them on a smaller ground, and hopefully we can hand them their first loss of the year.”
Jurey also believes that the key to winning will be limiting Healesville’s spread and run.
“The key against Healesville will be to limit their spread and their run,”
“They use their big home ground to their advantage, so we will be looking to take advantage of the smaller Upwey ground,”
“A contested, physical game definitely works to our strengths.”
Monbulk can take some comfort from the fact that among their fellow finalists, they are the ones who have restricted Healesville to their lowest scores.