BFL PRELIMINARY FINAL
East Point v Darley
at City Oval, Saturday, 2.15pm
EAST POINT (1st): 13 wins, 3 losses
DARLEY (4th): 11 wins, 5 losses
LAST TIME THEY MET
Round 18: Darley 11.16 (82) d East Point 8.14 (62)
A vibrant young potent attack in alliance with an invigorated on-ball division has been a driving force behind East Point’s rise to new heights in the Ballarat Football League this year.
For Darley, a rock solid defence with the full trust of a vastly experienced midfield has lifted it within two wins of back-to-back flags and a third premiership in four years.
These two factors stand to decide who comes out on top in the preliminary final at the City Oval on Saturday and goes on to meet Melton in the grand final.
When these two met in round 11, Darley was completely out-of-sorts after a controversial week leading into the game.
Coach Heath Scotland chose to take a break and did not travel to the Eastern Oval, and the Devils looked anything but a budding finalist let alone a premiership contender.
It turned out to be the moment Darley drew a line in the sand.
The Devils have since then won seven of eight games, getting better with every game as Scotland and Brian Graham have returned, and Steve Kennedy has thrown off early season niggling injuries to be back to his Henderson Medal form of 2015.
While the confidence has grown throughout the group, it is the surety of Darley’s defence that has been the stumbling block for rivals.
Shane Page has led from the front and with Darren Leonard, Jackson Carrick and Jacob Zeestraten been a constant road block with trademark interceptions.
Once they get their hands on the ball, they pull the trigger by getting the ball to Luke Delahey, Luther Baker, Matt Young, Jordan Spiteri, Kennedy and Graham, and Darley is away. From there the Devils is hard to stop.
East Point is sure to have learnt from seeing how North Ballarat City played into the Devils’ hands in the first semi-final and will need to play a much smarter brand.
The Kangaroos have fallen into the trap of blazing away when pushing forward in the past two weeks, making it tough for its key forwards such as Brad Whittaker, Joel Ottavi and Bryson McDougall to get clean possession.
Their midfield of Matt and Jordan Johnston, Daniel Tung, Lucas Dahlenburg, Clay Bilney, Daniel Semmens and Aden Nestor are going to have to be much less predictable.
Whatever the method, if East Point is to reach an elusive grand final – its first since 2009 – it cannot afford to allow Darley to get away.
The Roos ran down North Ballarat from well back. However, they could not do it against Melton and most likely will not be able to against Darley.
EAST Point has made the only chance for the the preliminary final.
Lachlan Thornton has earned a recall at the expense of young Tom Clark.
Darley has named an unchnaged line-up, but has included star swingman Jake Edwards, who has been out with a lower back issue, among emergencies to put him in the mix.
PREDICTION: East Point
EAST POINT v. DARLEY
B: C. Lovig, M. Walsh, L. Dahlenburg
HB: D. Martin, J. Van Meel, D. Tung
C: B. Whittaker, C. Bilney, A. Nestor
HF: C. Quinlan, P. Kodorenko, J. Johnston
F: M. Johnston, B. McDougall, J. Brown
R: J. Ottavi, D. Semmens, L. Thornton
Int: J. Payne, A. Maconachie, J. Taylor, C. Carson
Emg: R. Monument, C. Banwell, M. Rotumah-Onus, T. Clark
In: L. Thornton
Out: T. Clark
B: D. Robson, D. Reid, C. Cullen
HB: J. Zeestraten, R. Ellis, D. Leonard
C: J. Spiteri, S. Kennedy, L. Delahey
HF: M. Hanson, J. Carrick, S. Page
F: B. Graham, H. Inglis, T. Evans
R: A. Kur, J. Ancrum, L. Baker
Int: M. Young, S. Mc Donald, D. Grenfell, H. Scotland
Emg: L. Herring, T. Stone, J. Edwards, A. Azzopardi
B: P. Barry, A. Gilbertson, B. Mundy
HB: A. O'Connor, T. Lenaz, J. Lanyon
C: D. Jurczyluc, C. Casson, J. Johnson
HF: M. Trimboli, J. Muir, C. Hansen
F: D. Harrison, A. Goodson, B. Morrison
R: M. Wright, R. Sleight, M. Sammut
Int: B. Baker, N. Cox, B. Ferrari, D. Nutt
Emg: B. Riley
B: T. Delahey, P. Hoyland, B. Cracknell
HB: M. Sutherland, Q. Butt, A. Porter
C: S. Lafranchi, T. Wardell, A. Sweet
HF: T. Castrignano, R. Mc Nay, L. Noonan
F: M. Whittle, S. Griffiths, A. Sweet
R: C. Suban, K. Dickson, D. Bonnici
Int: J. Powell, E. Tibbles, D. Walker, D. Prozzo
Emg: N. Chester, C. McKenzie, T. Walsh
SUNBURY v. EAST POINT
B: B. Wilson, J. Dillon, J. Pollard-Wright
HB: J. Taylor, L. Goater, M. Anderson
C: R. Eales, T. Werner, J. Lampard
HF: D. Caruana, C. Pitts, C. Brand
F: J. Fenton, C. Lamb, I. Smithwick
R: M. Eldridge, J. Mitchell, J. Oliaro
Int: C. Gills, L. Healy, J. Muir, D. Bygate
Emg: D. Mundy, Z. Charville, J. Stubbs
In: Z. Charville, C. Gills, D. Mundy
B: J. Findlay, M. Welsh, A. Morrish
HB: S. Tipper, I. Quick, A. Vallance
C: W. McLoughlin, Z. Gladman, N. Rieniets
HF: C. Bowden, N. Canny, M. Romeril
F: T. Clark, E. McMasters, B. Dodd
R: M. Daunt, B. Medwell, A. Lawrence
Int: S. Moore, S. McKeegan, J. Price, J. Thornton
Emg: V. Topui, L. Payne, L. Ross
In: J. Thornton, T. Clark, A. Vallance