IT WILL be a test of one of the league’s best backlines against one of the most complete forward lines in the preliminary final at Coughlin Park.
The Warrack Eagles could not break down Minyip-Murtoa’s defences a fortnight ago in the qualifying final but with an injection of pace the side’s forward six was more dangerous in a win against the Horsham Saints.
Eagles coach Ryan McKenzie said his side was confident that its best was good enough to take down the Burras. “We certainly think we have the scoring power to get the job done,” he said. “It will be more about the defensive side of things, especially in our forward half. If we can manage to lock the ball down there we have six guys who can all chip in with with two or three goals.”
In the qualifying final McKenzie played on one leg as a deep forward while Shannon Argall was playing just his second game back since injuring his foot in round seven. A more mobile Argall provided a strong focal point for his side in its first semi-final win and Charlie Wilson’s return from Rebel’s duties added a spark the injured McKenzie could not provide.
“I think the midfields are pretty evenly matched, it will be a matter of whether our guys can create enough opportunities for the forwards to score,” McKenzie said. “Kieran Delahunty is one of the best ruckmen in the league and Scott Adams has been playing some of his best football in recent weeks.
“The forward line is where we can get on top in the match.”
Minyip-Murtoa coach Damian Cameron agreed that that area of the ground could be crucial to deciding the match.
“Our backline has been strong all season but they maybe haven’t quite been as dominant in recent weeks,” he said. “One of our focuses has been on how dangerous the Warrack Eagles forward line can be. Everyone in our back six will need to work hard to make sure their forwards don’t get easy access to the ball, but that also comes down to whether or not we can win it through the midfield.”
A slow start cost Minyip-Murtoa in its loss to the Horsham Demons in the second semi-final. The side trailed by 37 points at quarter-time before ultimately going down by five points.
“It’s great that we showed so much heart to come back like we did, hopefully we can carry that momentum into Sunday,” Cameron said. “We need to play more consistent football though. We’ve shown throughout the season that our best is capable of beating all the other teams, but with our season on the line for the first time we need to be strong all game.”