LAST TIME THEY MET: Gordon 13.11 (89) d Newlyn 9.6 (60), round 13, 2018
Arguably Gordon’s most important player has been recalled to the side for the do-or-die battle with Newlyn at Creswick on Sunday.
Giant ruckman Zac May missed last weekend’s qualifying final loss to Beaufort with a hamstring injury he sustained at the end of training on the Thursday night before the game.
Gordon coach Ron Watt said the club didn’t hold May back against the Crows just to be cautious, believing he would have “done” his hamstring properly if allowed to take the field.
May has been an influential addition to the Eagles’ senior side after arriving mid-way through the season from Rupanyup.
His presence in the ruck gives more flexibility to Watt, who can then use fellow talls such as Angus Watts, Luke Gunnell and Brendan Sutcliffe in other roles.
Sutcliffe was arguably best on ground in the Eagles’ 17-point defeat to the Crows, which moved through to a preliminary final on the back of that success.
Watt was pleased with the performance from his charges, despite the defeat.
“Our confidence is high after that game,” Watt said.
“I know the idea is to win, but you can still take a lot of confidence from the way we played.
“I’m very happy with the way our players are running at the moment. They’re reasonably fresh, fit, have really knuckled down and are running hard both ways.”
Gordon comes up against a Newlyn side it beat comfortably back in round 13.
The Cats claimed their first finals success since 2012 when they defeated reigning premiers Hepburn by two points on Sunday.
Adam Sewell loomed as a strong chance to make his return from a finger injury in that game, but decided to remain on the sidelines for another week. He has been selected on an extended interchange bench for the game against the Eagles, and if he plays, it will be his first appearance since round 10.
Newlyn joint-coach Dan Wehrung said his team needed to lift on its effort against Gordon earlier in the year to reverse that result.
“I think that day we had in the low 50s for tackles and the games we’ve won this year, we have been sort of 90 plus,” Wehrung said.
“If we can bring that intensity we had last week, it will go a long way towards a different result.”
The victor on Sunday will take on Buninyong in a preliminary final.