BFL grand final: Cobras must break down Darley defence

IT'S MINE, NO IT'S MINE: They are already premiership captains, but Darley's Shane Page and Bacchus Marsh's Tyson Shea want another flag.
IT'S MINE, NO IT'S MINE: They are already premiership captains, but Darley's Shane Page and Bacchus Marsh's Tyson Shea want another flag.

Darley has confirmed the return of Tom Evans and Chris Graham to face Bacchus Marsh in the Ballarat Football League grand final at Mars Stadium on Saturday.

They will play at the expense of the unlucky Nick Thacker and Travis Minns.

Small forward Dane Grenfell (hamstring) was considered too big a risk for a recall, but will play in the reserves grand final.

Devils coach Heath Scotland admitted it had been a tough call on Thacker and Minns.

Thacker can consider himself extremely unlucky after playing 16 of Darley’s 18 games this season, although he did miss a large part of the second semi-final win over the Cobras with concussion.

Thacker was declared fit, but lost out as Scotland needed to find space for Graham and Evans.

Scotland said Darley was primed and set to go.

“There’ll be nerves, but we’re fully prepared. We’re confident and we’re ready.”

He said he was encouraging his players to be excited, but at the same time to control the nerves to ensure they were able execute everything that he had learnt during the year to get this far.

Darley goes in close to full strength, with ruckman Abe Cameron and defender Jay Pearson the only regular players missing owing to fitness issues.

It is a different scenario for Bacchus Marsh, which has been forced to shuffle its line-up after losing its book-ends – full back Trent Angwin (hamstring) and full forward Jarrah Maksymow (suspension).

On top of that the Cobras are without premiership players Simon Lafranchi (knee) and Kane White (knee). White damaged an anterior cruciate ligament and will miss a year.

Bacchus Marsh coach Travis Hodgson has tried the sugar coat the loss of Maksymow by saying his absence makes its attack less predictable.

That certainly was the case against Lake Wendouree with a spread goalkickers and it will need to be the same again.

The Cobras face a massive task to turn around their 98-point loss to Darley of two weeks ago, but as reigning premier they still contain the quality in the likes of ruckmen Dean Heta and Daniel Burton, Scott Sherlock, Tyson Shea, Jackson Bolton, Alec Del Papa, and Declan and Lachlan Phyland.

It will go down to how well they can control Brian and Chris Graham, Dan Roy, Leigh Spiteri and Scotland and possibly even more crucially break down the defensive side of the Devils led by Kyle Docherty, Darren Leonard and Jackson Carrick. 

PREDICTIONS

David Brehaut – Bacchus Marsh

Michael Hankins – Bacchus Marsh