By Matt Fotia
Seville are a completely different side to the one that finished runners up in 2018 according to senior coach Kane Shore, as the Blues set themselves for yet another grand final rematch against Yarra Junction, this time back at the scene of the crime – Healesville – in the Division Two Second Semi Final.
The Blues have been unstoppable in the second half of the season, having gone undefeated since their round five loss to the Eagles, as they’ve steadily welcomed back players off what was a fairly long injury list, to earn the week off to start the finals series.
The injuries have allowed the Blues to give more senior experience to players within the club throughout 2019, which Shore sees as a positive.
“We were a couple short still but it was the fullest we’ve been this year (last round),”
“It’s good to get blokes back – we’ve gotten through a tough period in the middle of the year and we’ve played something like 39 blokes in the seniors this year,”
“It’s a positive – a real credit to the boys.”
Shore has been putting his side through their paces with a tougher training regime in recent times as they looked to peak around finals time, something they haven’t done in previous years despite finishing as minor premiers.
“We have done things slightly different (this time around) – basically we’ve been training harder the last month or so,”
“It’ll all come down to the day though, we’re fit enough, we’ve set ourselves up and there’s no excuses.”
This extra preparation hasn’t come as a knee jerk reaction to last season, when the Blues went into the finals as the red hot favourites, before Yarra Junction put together three unbelievable weeks of football to run away with the premiership – in fabulous style.
The two sides have met twice this season with two rather varying results. Yarra Junction won handsomely the first time around on their home patch, before Seville gave them a taste of their own medicine in the return fixture, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.
Shore knows that Yarra Junction are a different side when they have room to move, but expects the war to be won in the crucial one on one battles.
“You always think you’ve prepared don’t you – last year I thought I was prepared,”
“Junction are obviously a different kettle of fish on that ground (Healesville), but we will go in full of confidence,”
“It comes down to the one on one battles, if we get them one on one and we win our battles, it’ll go a long way to winning the game.”
The Blues are well set to win those battles with some of the players on their list.
Nathan O’Keefe has collected yet another league goal kicking trophy, whilst players such as Dylan Broadway, Gareth Fraser, Josh Fraser and Cory Glass have all shown their match winning abilities throughout the year.
Another one of those match winners is classy ball winner Justin Myers, who joins a number of players in the Seville side that will be left unscarred heading into this weekend.
“He (Myers) has been fantastic for us this year, his voice and his experience – he rallies the troops on the ground,”
“We have a totally different side (this year) and we don’t talk about it (the 2018 grand final) because we are totally different,”
“I think there’s 11 different players in the senior side this season so it’s so different it’s not funny.”
This weekend offers so much for the Blues, a place in the grand final, another week to rest some sore bodies and an opportunity to bury a rival who will be buoyed by their last meeting at this venue.
So big is the occasion Shore wishes his playing days were still around.
“Everyone is as keen as mustard – if you’re not you probably shouldn’t be playing football,”
“It’s times like this I wish I wasn’t retired – everyone wants to be part of finals,”
“You know, we’ve done the hard yards in the middle of the year and now we have to let that work do the talking.”
Seville play Yarra Junction this Saturday at the Don Sporting Complex.
You can catch the game on Yarra Valley FM 99.1 or OETV.com.au