AFL South Coast Men’s Division One Grand Final Preview
The biggest day on the AFL South Coast calendar is here with the four senior Grand Finals to be played.
Division One Preview
Kiama Power v Wollongong Lions @ 3pm
The 2018 Grand Final shapes as a mouth-watering clash and if it reaches the heights of last year’s decider where these two sides also met then we are in for a classic.
Kiama come into the match as the warm favourites after a strong second half of the season which included three victories over the Lions in this time including the Major Semi win by 12 points. All three of these games though have been very tight contests and the Lions will look back to their Round 2 demolition of the Power by 70 points for inspiration.
Both sides are littered with stars, none more noticeable than the 2018 Tunbridge Medallist in Lachlan Maples. With arguably the strongest playing CV in the league, Maples has returned to the South Coast in 2018 and has been a star of the competition and will be vital to the Lions chances of claiming a three-peat.
One of the keys for the match will be the ruck battle between the Lions Rohan Watson and the Powers Callum O’Toole and who can give first use to their midfield. Watson is the competitions premier ruckmen and has plenty of big game experience which may give Wollongong the edge however local product O’Toole at just 21 years of age has been most impressive this season in what is essentially his first full year playing seniors.
The key position forward battle is another intriguing one with Kiama led by competition leading goal scorer Troy Cole at full forward and Lachlan Kirk while the Lions certainly have their own fire power in James Adamson and Jake Hogarth. Add to these four who have kicked over 150 goals between them the likes of Toby Bishop and Ramez Dagher from the Lions and Josh Krull and Scott Phillips from Kiama and there is plenty of fire power up forward. Grand Finals however are always a different ball game with pressure increased and time with the footy decreased so taking chances when provided will be vital for both sides.
Around the ground there is quality everywhere you look with Kiama boasting the likes of Nick Baggio, Stu Brierty and Jack Mahony through the midfield and the experienced Ben Rawson and Ben Hoctor off half back while Wollongong measure up well also with Owen Christie and Chris Cook in the middle and Team of the Year member Jack Burgess at half forward and Josh Tier providing rebound off the half back.
Coaches Rod Richards and Ray Burgess know each other’s sides so well now and it will be interesting to see what tactical moves are made during the match to gain ascendancy.
All in all it shapes up as a cracking Grand Final in the next installment of this growing rivalry.
B: J. Bateman, A. Perger, J. Simpson
HB: B. Rawson, B. Hoctor, M. Williams
C: S. Brierty, N. Baggio, J. Lawrence
HF: W. Howitt, L. Kirk, C. Wood
F: B. Koop, T. Cole, S. Phillips
R: C. O’Toole, J. Ryan, J. Mahony
Int: G. Haworth, J. Krull, R. Neels, M. Price
In: J. Ryan
Out: K. Hume
B: D. Goodley, C. Panagakos, L. Konza
HB: B. Leonard, M. Sieger, J. Tier
C: C. Cook, O. Christie, J. Gray
HF: J. Burgess, J. Hogarth, A. Herne
F: T. Bishop, J. Adamson, R. Dagher
R: R. Watson, L. Maples, H. Freund
Int: D. Carter, C. Hally-Burton, D. Nolen, J. Nugent
In: D. Carter
Out: S. Forrest
Round 2 – Wollongong Lions 15.10-100 d Kiama Power 4.6-30
Round 13 – Kiama Power 9.9-63 d Wollongong Lions 4.12-36
Round 17 – Kiama Power 5.8-38 d 4.8-32
Major Semi – Kiama Power 11.5-71 d Wollongong Lions 8.11-59
The Key Match Up
James Adamson v Alex Perger
The winner of this dual will go a long way to determining the outcome of this match. Adamson the star full forward capable of kicking big bags of goals against the no nonsense, under rated key defender in Perger. A battle not to miss!
Players to Watch
Scott Phillips – has X factor and is a big game player. As courageous as they come
Nick Baggio – arguably the Power’s best player this season and will get plenty of football through the middle of the ground. Experienced big game player.
Stuart Brierty – silky skills and lightning speed with an enormous work rate
Lachlan Maples – the 2018 Tunbridge Medallist is an out and out star with high level experience
James Adamson – missed most of the season but is back when it counts is capable of turning a game on its head with a big bag of goals
David Goodley – always gets plenty of the footy and sets the Lions up from the back half. If Goodley gets plenty of uncontested footy it will mean the Lions are on top and will go a long way to a Lions win
Anything less than a tight result would be a surprise, but Kiama are the deserved favourites and will get revenge for their 2017 defeat. Kiama by 13 points
Division Three – Bomaderry Tigers v Figtree Kangaroos @ 9:15am
Division Two – Bomaderry Tigers v Kiama Power @ 11:15am
Women’s – Wollongong Lions v Bomaderry Tigers @ 1:15pm
Division One – Kiama Power v Wollongong Lions @ 3:00pm
Entry to the ground $5 for adults, free for pensioners and children under 18.