By Gav Southern – @gavsouthern
Point Cook were able to account for Mt. Lilydale un-scathed as they just harassed the Rams for four quarters. Mt. Lilydale tried hard all day but, simply didn’t have the firepower. The Rams struggled in the mid-field and couldn’t penetrate the forward 50 anywhere near as they would’ve liked. Meanwhile, the Warriors looked on from the sidelines. This is a match-up we’ve probably been predicting since half-way through the year. The undefeated Westbourne, boasting the best defence and easily the best attack Vs. Point Cook, who have also had a dominant year and the only team to lose to Westbourne by single figures during the year. The stage is set for that “One day in September” and a game to remember. Before we get into it all, let’s review the prelim:
Prelim: Point Cook Def Mt. Lilydale
After Point Cook lost to the Rams by 10pts on 23/7, the Doggies knew not to take this final lightly. Mt. Lilydale were full of confidence entering into the game with a near full side. But, all of that was disposed of and put to rest as Point Cook came out early firing five goals to three , in scintillating fashion. On this occasion though, the winning quarter was when the Doggies put their “claws” to the Rams throat, led by Mason Kip across half-back, holding them scoreless and still hitting the scoreboard 6-5, setting up a 10 goal buffer in the long break. The only thing I predicted wrong for Point Cook, kicking straight and “cannot afford to rely on mid-fielders this week to shoulder the scoring”. With William Dawson out, BOG Jordan Lampi stood up with 7 majors, his 2nd highest for the year and was head and was damaging. Robbie Milne (2 goals) also did his thing with his pace and two-way running. Sam Young, who hasn’t played since 18/6, came in for Dawson and kicking 3 goals against a quality side was a major plus, being another option up forward. After half-time, the Rams were able to show some form but, still lost the 2nd half by 22, a more respectable deficit. Tim Legg, never stopped trying as did Dave Brambilla from the backline whilst Stephen Donald (4 goals) and Jai Perrett (2) were the only ones that seemed to fire. Point Cook’s 83 point victory is definitely a confidence booster. They’ll need it as they head into the big one against Westbourne . . . .
GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
Well, we are finally here for the Grand Final and at the time of printing, the VAFA have not yet confirmed a venue. The choice of neutral ground should not be a factor for either side as both the Doggies and the Warriors are used the “finals size” grounds. Whilst Westbourne will easily go into the game as clear favorites, Point Cook still have something to say about this week’s outcome and I pose some burning questions:
Westbourne averaged an incredible 155 pts a game in the home/away season and 86 pts in 3 games against Point Cook, shows the Doggies were on the right track. The Warrior defence on the other hand, held opposition sides to a mere 43 pts and 50 against Point Cook. When you look at Point Cook, 115 pts per game in scoring and 61 pts against. If you’re a Doggies fan, this could be your hope heading into the match. If it’s low scoring and control the tempo, could this play into the Doggies hands?
The strengths of both sides is the goal-kicking power. Westbourne forward-line of Collins (73 goals), Chris Hudson (39), Johns (35), Hunter/Schiano (30 each) are active leaders, can kick from anywhere and share the ball. At the other end, Herbertson (27), Lampi (31) and Hegarty (15) from the mid-field are super important. Could Sam Young be the 2016 Shane Ellen? But, William Dawson (85) is super important for the Doggies this week. Surely he won’t miss? Will he be 100%?
At the other end, the West Brunswick backline have been incredibly solid. Whilst the majority of the ball was spent in the forward line, the tall mobile backline of Rompel, Dimitriadis, Imber, Salamone and co have done their job. Point Cook boast Mason Kip, Robbie Milne who are quick, Cox, Kerr and the likes need to stand up. Do you play a spare in defense? Do you tag Mason Kip down back?
Then there’s battle of the mid-field. . . . it’s 50/50 but, we’ve spoken about Point Cook’s midfield scoring and the Warriors will be accountable. Westbourne have done nothing to change my vote. I’m tipping the Warriors.
Lastly, after completing my second year as a scribe, first for Div 4, I wanted to take the time to thank a few people that have made my life easier during the season. Thanks for Christian Burgess for his support and filling in for me for a week. Also thanks to the people who contributed from the Div 4 sides throughout the year most weeks: John Alexandridis (EP), Andrew Gough (PTC), Al Rodrigues (BHN), Rian Prestwich (MAS), Kead Beauliv (MAN) and Peter Rodwell (MTL)
Good Luck to both sides.
Westbourne Vs. Point Cook