K rock Football

Saturday Spotlight – GFL Preliminary Final

THE GAMES

Leopold (1st) vs. St Joseph’s (3rd) @ GMHBA Stadium, Saturday 2:00pm

MATCH OF THE ROUND

For the third consecutive year, the minor premier will have to negotiate the preliminary final. In a good omen for Leopold, it was forced to take the less direct route to the premiership in 2016, as did this week’s opponent St Joseph’s last year. The Lions had the better of Joeys by 58 points when the two teams met back in Round 10.

CRUCIAL DAY FOR

Both teams for varying reasons. Leopold its looking to avoid being the first minor premier bundled out in straight sets since North Shore in 2004, while St Joseph’s will be keen to ensure Heath Jamieson’s coaching tenure lasts until at least grand final day.

THE MATCH-UP

Billie Smedts (Leopold) vs. Callum Mitchell (St Joseph’s). Smedts will spend the day roaming across half forward for the Lions and might have the agile Mitchell for company.

THE CHANGE

St Joseph’s defence will be strengthened by the return of Callum Mitchell from VFL duty. However, it appears Kieran Paliouras has failed in his bid to overcome a hamstring injury in time.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS FOR SAINTS

St Mary’s will take a unique approach to its preparation for next week’s grand final appearance. The Saints, who have come up empty-handed in their previous trips to the decider after winning through from the second semi-final, will gather to watch Saturday’s preliminary final before heading to Deakin University to train that night.

THE HEAD-SCRATCHER

Attendees at Wednesday night’s Mathieson Medal were left scratching their heads when North Shore players were awarded all the votes in the Round 17 netball clash with premiership-bound Newtown & Chilwell. You could possibly understand the Seagulls getting the 3,2,1 if the margin was close. However, the Eagles won in a canter, 107-15.

NICHOLS UNDER THE KNIFE

Newtown & Chilwell forward Sam Nichols will undergo surgery on his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on Tuesday. Nichols told the crowd at the Mathieson Medal count after receiving the Rookie of the Year award he will have a procedure similar to Collingwood’s Tyson Goldsack where the graft will come from his quadriceps instead of the hamstring. He hopes to be back after the interleague break in May next year.

THE NUMBER

33. The average margin in the first of the four finals. It’s fair to say AFL Barwon will be keen to see a couple of close ones over the next eight days.

THE WHISPER

Which assistant coach at one of the three remaining teams in GFL premiership contention is the front-runner for the vacant job at a rival club?

THE QUOTE

“We wobbled a bit late but I think we’ve put that to bed over the last few weeks and I’ve got feeling that some of our best footy can be played over the next couple of weeks.” – St Joseph’s coach Heath Jamieson.

THE TEAMS

GFL TEAMS – PRELIMINARY FINAL