The stage is set for a blockbuster preliminary final showdown between Tooradin Dalmore and Cora Lynn.
The combatants return to the scene of their qualifying final stoush in which the Seagulls stunned the higher-ranked Cobras by 42 points and reversed the result from their only clash during the home and away season, which Cora Lynn won by 45 points in the season opener.
That result earned Tooradin Dalmore first crack at undefeated reigning premier Phillip Island but it was unable to find a way past the minor premier in the second semi-final at Bass.
Cora Lynn, meanwhile, bounced back in style with a commanding victory against Koo Wee Rup in the first semi-final at Korumburra.
With two wildly different head-to-head battles under their belt, it’s fitting that the third and deciding matchup offers such a tantalising reward.
In terms of personnel, neither side is expected to ring too many changes.
Cora Lynn remained unchanged for last week’s semi-final and given the impressive performance and lack of obvious choices outside the side, only a forced change would be likely.
The Seagulls made just one change to its side for their semi-final, with Tim Lenders returning in place of Brad Butler, who suffered a hand injury in the qualifying final.
Should Butler be passed fit, he will almost certainly come under consideration at the selection table.
WHAT WAS SAID:
“We look at it like we’re starting again – they (Cora Lynn) will be different to Round 1, and the first
Final. We know we’ll stuff up and turn the footy over – it’s more about the effort and work-rate,
and playing for each other. Our game style and game plan is about evenness – working really
hard, being a great team member, and having the trust of your teammates,” – Tooradin Dalmore coach Lachie Gillespie
“Our strength is our forward line and key forwards we have up there, and Tooradin plays
a really strong defensive brand of footy and can restrict them. The first time we could get through their defence (in Round 1), and the second time around we couldn’t. A big focus for us will be, whichever game style or structure we go with, being better for longer,” – Cora Lynn coach David Main
Round 1: Cora Lynn 16.10 (106) def. Tooradin-Dalmore 9.7 (61)
Qualifying Final:Cora Lynn 8.6 (54) def by. Tooradin-Dalmore 13.18 (96)
REGULAR SEASON RECORD:
Tooradin Dalmore: Third (12 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw)
Cora Lynn: Second (15 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw)
LAST TIME OUT:
Phillip Island 7.16 (58) def. Tooradin Dalmore5.4 (34) (second semi-final)
Cora Lynn17.19 (121) def. Koo Wee Rup 9.7 (61) (first semi-final)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Tooradin-Dalmore: Nick Lang, Luke McKenna, Andrew Dean
Cora Lynn: Nathan Langley, Jaxon Briggs, Nathan Gardiner
“The Cobras to win and take on Phillip Island in the grand final. They’re a more even team and I suspect that they took Tooradin lightly last time they played each other,” – Garfield coach Hayden Stanton
“Cora Lynn. They just have so many avenues to goal, and Tooradin got a bit exposed for their lack of ruckmen (on Saturday). Cora Lynn’s scoring power and midfield was really, really good on the weekend,” – Dalyston coach Mark Lafferty
Two-time reigning premier Dalyston and flag wildcard Nar Nar Goon will battle it out for the right to take on Tooradin Dalmore in the 2019 A Grade Grand Final.
The Pies led at half-time but ultimately fell short against the inimitable Gulls in the second semi-final, while the Goon stunned Korumburra Bena in first semi-final to set up an intriguing preliminary final contest.
Tooradin Dalmore remains the only side to have bested Dalyston this season and that’s the challenge that awaits Nar Nar Goon this weekend.
In two matches during the home and away season, the Magpies won by eight goals at home in round three and 13 in the reverse fixture in round 14.
However, a similar record proved not to be too great a hurdle for Nar Nar Goon against the Giants, who had downed the Goon by more than 10 goals in both meetings prior to the semi-final.
Adding to the intrigue is that both sides’ strengths arguably lie in different areas of the court.
Dalyston defence, spearheaded by reigning competition A Grade medallist Alanna McRae, and attack, led by the returning Jarney Thomas, provides solid bookends to works from, while Nar Nar Goon’s mid court has been its pillar throughout the season.
To discount either the Magpies’ mid court or the Goon’s attack – particularly the shooting of Olivia Cope – would be a mistake, but one suspects those are the foundations the respective teams will build from in any case.
REGULAR SEASON RECORD:
Dalyston: Second (15 wins, 3 losses)
Nar Nar Goon: Fourth (12 wins, 6 losses)
Round 3: Dalyston 45 def. Nar Nar Goon 37
Round 14: Nar Nar Goon 37 def by. Dalyston 50
LAST TIME OUT:
Tooradin Dalmore 46 def. Dalyston41
Korumburra Bena 37 def by. Nar Nar Goon58
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dalyston: Alanna McRae, Gemma Thomas, Grace McRae
Nar Nar Goon: Georgia Keysers, Meaghan Winter, Olivia Cope
Written in conjunction with Star News Group and originally published in this week’s edition of the Pakenham Gazette