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Elimination final “our grand final”: Ryan

North Geelong coach Darren Ryan. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

A CANDID Darren Ryan has declared North Geelong’s elimination final meeting with either Thomson or Geelong West in 15 days time will be its “grand final” for 2017.

The Magpies coach is realistic enough to know that a first semi-final appearance is likely to pull his team up, having not beaten Inverleigh, Bannockburn or Bell Post Hill since rolling the Hawks in the 2015 preliminary final.

“We’re 3-4 blokes short of competing against the top three sides,” Ryan said.

“But, we’ll aim at Thomson and if we can get over the top of them – which I think will be a pretty good game on the Sunday – then we face Bell Post Hill or Bannockburn.

“We want to win our first one, and if we get through that, then the second week comes along and who knows.

“We’ll go into the finals series with nothing to lose.”

If Thomson defeats Geelong West this afternoon, the Tigers and North Geelong will meet in consecutive weeks – Round 18 and then the elimination final.

“If we and Thomson are legit, that’s our grand final,” Ryan said.

“That’s the measuring stick for both clubs, I would imagine.”

Bell Post Hill has had North Geelong’s measure since the 2013 grand final, winning eight of the nine meetings since, including 75-point victory in Round 6.

“We’ve got a fair way to go to compete with the top-three sides, but it’s just about effort,” Ryan said.”

“If we put the effort in, the rewards will come on the oval.”

Twitter: @tom_king79