Pubished on 17 August 2022

By David Nagel

It’s almost tempting fate to mention ‘fever’ in the current environment…but finals fever has certainly taken a hold as the home-and-away season comes to an end in West Gippsland football on Saturday.

Seriously how good is it going to be, having six games played over four glorious weekends, as the best of the best lock horns in the quest for football’s ultimate prize – for the first time in three years?

For footy nuts, it’s simply mouth-watering…it’s where reputations are built…and this week we get a perfect glimpse of what the immediate future might hold.

Nar Nar Goon versus Inverloch-Kongwak, at Spencer Street, and Warragul Industrials rolling out the welcome mat for Cora Lynn…what a perfect build up to finals we have in store.

Momentum is a big thing in football and all four coaches, Luke Young, Ben Soumilas, Harmit Singh and Shaun Sparks would love to enter elimination final weekend in winning form.

But at what cost, particularly with little chance of the pecking order changing this weekend?

As it stands, the most likely scenario is that Inverloch-Kongwak will take on Warragul Industrials in week one of finals, with the Goon and Cobras set for an absolute blockbuster at Bunyip on Super-Sunday.

Those things considered…How does this weekend play out?

At least two players will be trying their absolute hearts out, with power-forwards Dermott Yawney and Nathan Gardiner keen to win the league goal-kicking award.

Goon-forward Yawney takes flight against the second-tightest defensive team in the business, with Soumilas and his Sea Eagles one tough nut to crack.

Eamon Trigg will need to be at his very best in the ruck, and Trent Armour and Brendan Hermann right at the top of their game if ‘Dermie’ is to hold on to his narrow one-goal lead.

Gardiner is probably the bookies’ choice, coming off 13 goals last week and taking on a Dusties outfit that has conceded 245 points more than the Sea Eagles this year.

Cheap handball receives…forget it from these two this weekend!

We’ll go for the Sea Eagles to get the choccies over the Goon, with Yawney to kick four, and the Dusties to win but Gardiner to slot five.

That’s 76 goals apiece…enjoy your trophies fellas!

The top-two, Tooradin-Dalmore and Phillip Island, will head into a week’s rest after comfortable victories over Kooweerup and Korumburra-Bena respectively, while the clash at Dalyston between the Magpies and Bunyip could go down to the wire.

Both teams have very little to play…but its Bunyip by 17 points.

And a fully motivated Garfield will push Kilcunda-Bass all the way at the Bass Rec Reserve.

It’s taken 17 rounds to record a win, but Stars’ coach Paul Carbis is quietly confident his team can go back-to-back.

“We almost beat Killy-Bass last time, we were up during the last quarter and they kicked the last goal to knock us off…so there’s a bit of belief there,” Carbis said.

“We knew we had a couple of winnable games towards the end of the year and we’ve set ourselves to win those and climb a rung or two on the ladder.

“We went past Korumburra-Bena last week, and to tick off another one (Dalyston) would be terrific for the boys.

“It’s pretty exciting for the boys now, they’ve improved as the year has gone on and we look to take further strides moving forward.

“We’ll have a big summer and come back bigger and better for next year.”

Sorry Stars…Taylor Gibson will have a huge game and it’s the Panthers by 27 points.

“We had 12 blokes that were 20 or under yesterday, so it holds the club in really good stead moving forward.


“This year has been about building foundations, resetting the club, after the loss of players, and the opportunity that players would get that maybe wouldn’t have been there in the past.

“We’ve played the good teams, seen the stronger bodies and how the move the ball, and that’s what we’re now striving to get to.

“The last pre-season was a bit hot or miss, but they’ve seen it, tasted it, and now have the opportunity to get bigger and better for next year.

“We’re aiming to recruit a few players, to guide the youngsters through, that’s what we’re working on behind the scenes.