THE 2008 GRAND FINALE

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So here we have a side that’s comfortably seen off their opponents twice at league headquarters. A side that’ll have the bulk of the crowd on their side and who will rewrite the record books if they get up. So how is it that Sunday’s A Section grand final is a bona fide even-money ball game?
Well, the events of last week might have something to do with it. Significantly, the majority of the Tigers would not have even seen Collegians win last week’s preliminary final. They would have been cheering on their juniors to a pennant up the road at Trevor Barker Oval. What Luke Beveridge and his note takers would have picked up on however, is that the Lions of last week bore little resemblance to the side of the week before. Against the Beders, they looked underdone and a little lost on the big ground. But after quarter time last week, it all clicked. They kicked long, they tackled hard and their defence was rock solid. They saw off a formidable and much fancied opponent in style.
What may be of concern to the Lions however, is the rumoured rain that’s hitting Melbourne. Trying to predict weather conditions in Melbourne is hard enough – trying to predict them at Sportscover Arena is just a waste of time. Just assume that you’ll get four seasons in each quarter. But if it comes down in buckets, like it did earlier in the year when the two sides met at league headquarters, then the Tigers will be licking their lips.
Sunday looms as one of the great amateur grand finals. The new kids on the block versus the elder statesmen of the VAFA. It will showcase some of the best young players running in local footy — Sam Anstey, Brett Collins, and Peter McGettigan. It will showcase Fergus Watts, one of the best spearheads we’ve seen in A Section for many a year. It should be a cracking game, with a bumper crowd. But after seeing the Lions last week, I can’t envisage anything other than a Collegians victory. If you disagree and want a piece of a grand final top-shelf bottle of red, email [email protected].
And let’s not forget the B Section grand final tomorrow. B Section play-offs can be strange beasts in that the hard yards have been done in the preceding fortnight. But tomorrow will be no exhibition game. Personally I think it’s great that the Marcellin footy club are back in the top flight. The players running around tomorrow have been there for the long haul and have matured significantly since they dropped out of A Section at the end of 2006. A host of youngsters have progressed through their U19 program and look ready to mix it with elite company. They’re a pretty small team who like to run, so with howling winds forecast for the ‘Wick tomorrow, you never quite know. The Old Essendon side just oozes talent and if allowed to have their head will simply be too good. It would be a brave man who tips against the formidable Old Essendon line-up but Marcellin are one of those clubs who really make you earn your wins. It will required a solid contribution from every player on the Marcellin team to pull off the unlikely, but Grand Finals can produce such stories. With no AFL games during the day, both games are not to be missed.

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