By Jarryd McGuane – JMcGuane
Preston Bullants secured Division 1 football for 2017 and a Grand Final place as they defeated West Brunswick by 41 points at Garvey Oval. Coming into this game off defeating Yarra Valley OB, the Bullants remained that form with only inaccuracy keeping West Brunswick in touch. Preston put through 3.7 in the first to the Magpies 2.2 to lead by 11 points at the first change. Again the Bullants would kick more behinds than goals in the second quarter as both sides kicked 2.3 to have the margin remain at 11 points at the half. Coming out of the long break, West Brunswick had their chances to reduce the margin as they had more shots on target than the Bullants but no goals to two in the Bullants extended the lead to 20 points. The floodgates opened in the last as five final quarter Preston goals to one ended West Brunswick’s season a week earlier than they had hoped.
Preston Bullants ruckman Nathan Parkes was the dominant tall on the field as he was ably supported by Alex Ricco, George Warton, Damon Marcon, plus Sean and Dean Calcedo. Damon Marcon was also the major goal kicker with three goals as they were shared throughout the side. Christopher Simpson remain valiant in defeat for West Brunswick alongside Evan Lloyd battling up back. Bill Irving was the Magpies only multiple goal kicker.
Grand Final Preview
St Johns OC off their week off will face Preston Bullants with it all on the line. Despite being the class of the competition all season St Johns OC have split their season series with the Bullants, winning by 32 points at Thomas Carroll and the Bullants on top at W.R Ruthven by nine points.
The JOC’s are the most rounded of the two sides and were rewarded with five players featuring of the team of the year sides. Captain Glenn Costas and fellow midfielder Corey Ely will be important creating impetus from the midfield for the JOC’s as they lead the pack of small but large body midfielders. Anthony Brannan will be tasked sparking run from the half backline with tall defender Dylan Webb needing to back up his impressive lock down performance against West Brunswick alongside John Ayama. Up forward Aaron Thornton is the obviously talking point as the Division’s leading goal kicker but Trent Edwards and Rohan Scott have stepped up of late to be a foil for St Johns.
And the St Johns forward line will have to be at their best as Preston Bullants strength remains their defence with team of the year full back Reed Jepson more than likely going to try and lock down Thornton. They have a strong bodied midfield of their own with Damon Marcon and Dean Calcedo likely to even many contests with hopefully good supply from ruckman Nathan Parkes, who was stiff to miss the team of the year. Their forward line is a more even affair with Marcon kicking many as he rests forward and Jake Powell has stepped up as late.
As it shapes up, defensively and through the midfield both sides are extremely strong and can’t see either side (injuries aside) taking complete dominance through these parts of the ground. Whereas up forward, Preston Bullants don’t seem to have the targets that can put on a massive burst on the scoreboard in comparison to St Johns OC trio. As a result, in a tight affair I believe that a few extra goals contributed by either Thornton, Edwards or Scott will be the difference.
St Johns OC to defeat Preston Bullants by 15 points