By Kyle Power
Rochester v Benalla @ Mooroopna Rec Reserve – Saturday 98.5 ONEFM BROADCAST GAME LIVE 1PM
WELL, we are finally into the serious stuff and it doesn’t get much bigger than the two heavyweights of the competition Rochester and Benalla, who in my eyes cannot be split. Two sides with impeccable records are coming into this finals series with both winning their last four matches comfortably. When these two sides last met in Round 14 it was the Saints winning by a point in a wet dour affair, both Luke Morgan and James Flaherty won’t be revisiting that game to gauge an advantage on one another. Rochester possess a dominate forward line with, Bowen, Stroobants and Cuttriss all capable of turning a game, and Benalla, who on the back of league leading goal kicker, Josh Mellington being reported and potentially missing the entire finals series, along with Nick Warnock who has a leg complaint, both are such important cogs for the Saints in winning this game. It’s the midfield of both sides that is where the game will be decided; for Benalla, Will and James Martiniello, Sam Martyn, Luke Morgan against Rochester’s Ash Watson, Dan Anderson, Jo Atley and Nick Knight. This one has all the makings for one of the games of the season.
Kyabram v Euroa @ Victoria Park, Echuca – Sunday 98.5 ONEFM BROADCAST GAME LIVE 1PM
KYABRAM are one of four sides in my opinion who could win this year’s premiership however a loss in Round 18 against Rochester who they may well face in a semi final this series, wasn’t good for the confidence. The Bombers had four key players out that game according to Coach, Justin Sherman with the form, prior to last weekend, relatively solid. With Josh Vick and Chris ‘Afro’ Atkins set to return they look a better team. The last time these two sides met in Round 15 it was the Bombers winning convincingly by 45 points, and on the back of that game and the form Euroa have shown leading up to this has been disappointing. The uncertainty of some of Euroa’s VFL players availability is taking its toll with an unbalanced side fielded for most of this year. Will and James Hayes won’t play in this game denting the chances for the Pies. Euroa tested Benalla last round and will take little confidence out of that game with playing coach Nathan Gilliland starring with three goals. The winner out of this game will meet the winner out of Rochester v Benalla in a semi final to then play off for a spot in the Grand Final, a big game with a lot at stake.
Shepparton Swans v Seymour @ Benalla Showgrounds – Sunday
LAST year’s premier gets a chance to defend their title in a cut-throat game against an in-form Seymour side. The Swans who were hardly challenged last week will be fresh and looking for a big game from some of their established stars in the competition, names like Sidebottom, Riordan, Maddern and Squire will be key to a Swans’ victory. The big question mark remains on the Swans is that when Maddern is held and kept quite who is able to take over and kick a winning score? Maddern’s 72 goals to date is a fair return with the next three leading goalkickers, Antonowicz (41) Fry (17) and BJ Squire (9) can they win a premiership with this model? Seymour are the form side along with Benalla heading into the series with their only blemish being a couple of weeks ago, a defeat to the Saints at home. Seymour will be suited to the open spaces the showgrounds has to offer and with their key players hitting form none more so than their exciting forwards, Saad Saad and Tim Bongetti who have combined for 34 goals between them in the last five games, that combination is starting to look dangerously potent for opposition defenses. Expect a few sore bodies after this one as it will be a tough hard fought contest.