Men’s Final Previews
Men’s Division Two
Qualifying Final: Wollongong Bulldogs v Shellharbour City Suns
Location: Nowra Showgrounds
The top-of-the-table clash for Men’s Division Two looks to be a very tight contest. The first-placed Bulldogs side has been a dominant attacking force so far this season having scored 782 points to complement a 360.37 percentage. Their record of eight wins and two losses this year does prove though that they can be beaten, a fact that Shellharbour proved when they defeated the Bulldogs 39(6.3.) to 33(5.3.) in round 14. This victory was typical of a Shellharbour side that has built its success primarily on the back of its defence resulting in a percentage of 109.29 from seven wins and three losses. Shellharbour are regularly involved in wins that can only be described as tight contests only winning by more than 30 points on one occasion. The Bulldog’s season has been a tale of two halves on the point-scoring front. They burst out of the gates in the early rounds scoring ten or more goals in five of their first six matches. Since then they’ve averaged six goals in each of their last three games played. Whilst certainly not cause for concern it is a departure from the brand of footy that they were playing earlier in the season, and it is a trend that plays into the hands of the Suns who thrive in low-scoring affairs.
This battle is building to be a classic tale of the unstoppable force and the immovable object, the question is which will break first?
Elimination Final: Northern District Tigers v Bomaderry Tigers
Location: Nowra Showgrounds
It would be easy to make a joke about how this game is going to be a bit of a catfight but that does feel like the word to describe what is to come, though that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an underdog.
The third-placed Northern Districts side are clear favourites in this game, having been in the hunt for a top-two finish right up until the end of the season. They boast the second-best percentage in the competition at 212.63 and whilst they have lost three matches to go with their six wins and one draw, they have only lost to the minor premiers the Bulldogs. This fact will surely fill them with confidence as they prepare to take on a Bomaderry side who have scraped into the top over the Figtree Kangaroos on account of their superior percentage. Unfortunately for them, the challenges aren’t over yet. Their record this season suggests that to win this game will be a tall order. Bomaderry have tasted victory only three times this season, however, their victory over the Bulldogs in round eleven proves that they are capable of an upset against higher-ranked teams and they will be hoping to replicate the form they found in that game when they run out against Northern Districts on Saturday. The men from the North will be filled with confidence on the back of some very strong form in the last two rounds having recorded comprehensive victories over Figtree and also over the Bomaderry side that they will line up again against on Saturday.
Men’s Division One
Qualifying Final: Bomaderry Tigers v Port Kembla Blacks
Location: North Dalton Park
A mouth-watering clash awaits in the first of the Men’s Division One competition games as the undefeated Wollongong Bulldogs take on the Figtree Kangaroos who have only tasted defeat twice this season. On paper the Bulldogs are clear favourites, they boast a 752.98 percentage, they’ve only conceded 151 points from their ten outings this season and have scored 1137 points to boot. Keegan Jenkins has been scintillating so far this season, kicking 33 goals from his eight games this season. Supporting him with more than handy goal tallies themselves are Jack Woeckel Hynes and Rylan Groves who place third and fourth in the season goal tallies themselves.
The Kangaroos’ record, whilst not as extensive as that of the Bulldogs is certainly nothing to scoff at. Having been handed only two losses alongside their eight wins the Kangaroos remain a threat to any team. Having a percentage of 253.42, 816 points for and 322 against proves that the Kangaroos are certainly no slouches on the field. They will come into this game as the underdogs but they certainly should never be written off. Like the Bulldogs, their forward line will play a key part in their success.
These teams have only met once throughout the regular season due to the wild weather. On that occasion, the Bulldogs came away with a 63 (9.9.) to 43 (6.7.) win at Figtree oval.
Finals footy is a whole different beast as everyone knows. The Kangaroos will feel like there is no better time to hand the Bulldogs their first loss than in a finals game, but the Bulldogs by contrast will feel like they have the opportunity to complete a flawless season.
Elimination Final: Bomaderry Tigers v Port Kembla Blacks
Location: Nowra Showgrounds
The second final in Men’s Division One is the third versus fourth clash between the Bomaderry Tigers and the Port Kembla Blacks. On paper, this match is between two teams who have had two very different seasons. Bomaderry will make their way into the finals series with eight wins, two losses and a draw from their eleven games. This is supplemented with a healthy 250.44 percentage that is just as strong as the second-placed Figtree side.
By comparison, Port Kembla have scraped into the finals after a tight race against Nowra for the final top four spot. The story of Port Kembla’s season differs quite majorly from that of Bomaderry. They begin their finals campaign with three wins, six losses and a draw from their ten games whilst maintaining a percentage of 71.56. They haven’t beaten any of the teams placed above them yet this season but there is no better time to start than in a finals game.
History may suggest that Port Kembla have their best chance of winning against a top-four team in this game as they have pushed the Tigers to their only draw for the season during their round eight clash. Despite this, the Tigers won the other two matches convincingly and will take confidence from this heading into the weekend.
Men’s Premier Division
Qualifying Final: Kiama Power v Northern District Tigers
Location: North Dalton Park
The top-of-the-table clash in the Men’s Premier Division is shaping up as one of the most evenly matched fixtures in the finals series, the teams are barely able to be separated in any metric. For Figtree’s 240.78 percentage the Bulldogs match them with a 239.85. The two sides sit at ten wins apiece however the Bulldogs played eleven games to the ten of the Kangaroos and picked up a loss in that extra game which was played against their to-be finals opponents. The Figtree side will be hoping that Benjamin Bourke will continue what has been a golden season and add to his league-high 41 goals and continue his dominance up front. The Bulldogs will be looking to get their forward unit firing as they have done all season with four players sitting inside the top ten goalscorers across the competition.
With only one game worth of history, it’s hard to make a call on which way this one is going to go but the one thing that is certain is that you won’t want to miss this match!
Elimination Final: Kiama Power v Northern District Tigers
Location: Hollymount Park
Yet another match that promises to go down to the wire!
In the second of the preliminary finals matches Kiama take on the Northern Districts. Similar to the other final this game features two teams who are performing at very similar levels and are hard to pick between on paper. Third-placed Kiama finished the season with four wins and six losses whilst the Northern Districts finished the season with three wins and eight losses. Despite their lower placing on the table, Northern District boasts a higher percentage with 87.28 compared to the 60.29 of Kiama both teams are quite evenly matched defensively which means there will be lots of pressure on the forwards on either side to step up and take control of this match. These teams met three times across the course of the season with the results favouring Kiama two wins to one. Northern Districts will be hoping to draw on their performance in round two as they look to even up the tally. One thing can be certain though, this game will go down to the wire!