THE GRAND FINALS

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It’s all on the line this weekend. All the training and commitment and endeavour that has brought our best teams to the final act. Good luck to all.
Premier C by Di Langton

Weather, ground conditions and switched days have been much-talked of this finals series, yet when these two met in the second semi, it was a traditional sunny Saturday arvo with not a breath of wind across the loveliest deck we’d seen all year. Football was the feature act, a fast-moving, roller coaster of a game. Last week’s rain suited Beaumaris’ smaller fleet far better, so make what you will of today’s conditions.
McNicholas has peaked for finals and gives the Sharks versatility in the ruck and up forward, and takes the pressure off danger player Coote, leaving him to shore up CHB. There are some big engines amongst their raft of small running forwards (Dean, Petering, Murton etc) who are creative and quick to the ball but three finals may be taking a toll on the legs. Captain Haynes is under a cloud, as is Caulfield’s Sinclair, but Daly at CHF works well in tandem with Slevison forward and Meredith alternating the ruck and forward pocket. The real danger for Beauy is the impetus Caulfield gets from their running backs, namely Winter, Hyland and Perkins on the wing. Certainly, they look a winning machine and last year’s nightmare would be neatly exorcised by a flag. Oh, but I’m loathe to tip against Beauy again, they have a beautifully balanced team plus a big dose of x-factor and will rise to the occasion in front of the cheering tribes at Trevor Barker. The Fields have a significant psychological advantage with their reserves playing the early game, and if the rain holds off, I think we’ll see another arm-wrestle that goes right down to the wire.
Prediction: Caulfield Grammarians by 5 points. In overtime.
Div 1: Rees Quilford says:
The grand final will be the third time the two sides have faced off in a month. Monash will have taken plenty of confidence from their much improved effort a fortnight ago. They will again look to test the Bees with their height and will definitely need to kick straight again but it’s hard to see Werribee, with its depth and discipline, not getting the cup. Werribee by 18 points.
Div 2: James Coyne offers:
Looking now at the big dance, Banyule, the heavy favourites will be pitted against a worthy foe in Old Paradians. The week over will have done the Bears a world of good, with injuries playing a huge role in their 2010 campaign. While for the Raiders who have emerged from the mud of last week, can they run on heavy legs to power themselves to an upset win? Once again whilst trying to avoid sounding like a broken record, David Boundy and Peter Brabender and Brett McAllister will need to have a huge impact to get over the line. For the rested Bears, Ash Brown is once again key, and with eight goals, ‘he is only as good as his last game.’ The best duo in the backline all year, Dave Drapac and Michael Christian, will just need to be as consistent as they have been all year to ensure a title for Banyule. Banyule by 15 points. Best afield: Ash Brown
Div 3: JD Hibbert reports:
The two premier teams of the division compete for glory, out at Vermont. La Trobe play with the traditional student mix of the erratic and the brilliant; and with youthful forwards like Ganino and Patten, and a ruckman such as Wood, they are fantastic. Opposed by older heads at St John’s, sporting names such as Cachia and Pickering, this shapes as a fascinating contest. The ledger lies 2-1 in the Students’ favour. I have as much authority on the matter of prediction as a deaf man contemplating opera. This said, I risk the ire of all Dandenong, and pick a La Trobe victory by, it doesn’t even need to be stated, a minuscule margin.
Div 4: Jim Sutton opines:
There’s not much middle ground when it comes to grand finals, for the winners jubilation and a lifetime bond with teammates, for the losers devastation and a long wait before you can get back on the ground and seek redemption. Whatever the result it’s safe to say the Gryphons and the Rams have been clearly the two best sides in 2010 and both have fully deserved their promotion to Division 3 for next season.
Monash have won the last two encounters by five or six goals and have to go into this as warm favourites, and they have had a much lighter workload than the Rams who have had to play all four weeks of the finals series.  To give themselves the best chance, Mt Lilydale will need to get off to a good start like last week and put some scoreboard pressure on the Gryphons, and reduce the turnovers going forward which plagued their second semi loss. The Rams have copped a few injuries to important players in Hooke, Rhodes and Pulkka in the last couple of weeks and it’s hard to see them toppling the Gryphons without being at full strength. Congratulations to both clubs on their great seasons and here’s hoping for a ripping match to finish the year.
In the early game Monash Gryphons face an opponent they probably weren’t expecting in Swinburne Uni. The Razorbacks have done a great job to come from fifth spot, while the Gryphons only loss for the season came way back in Round 1. The Gryphons beat the Razorbacks easily mid-season, although that was when the Uni were struggling and it’s fair to say the team they put on the park today will bear little resemblance to the one that took the field back in June. Head says Gryphons but if there’s going to be an upset in either game today then methinks this is where it might come.