TAC Cup: Ultimate Grand Final preview

After 17 rounds, three weeks of finals and an immense amount of blood, sweat and tears; the final frontier is upon us with the TAC Cup Grand Final taking place at Etihad Stadium. The two competing teams met three weeks ago with the third-placed Dandenong Stingrays upsetting the second-placed Eastern Ranges in a tenacious game that earned them the right to play in a Preliminary Final. Since then Eastern Ranges defeated the Northern Knights and premiership favourites Geelong Falcons while the Stingrays knocked off the Calder Cannons to advance to the penultimate match of the season.

LAST TIME THEY MET:

Qualifying Final: Eastern Ranges 8.8 (56) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.5 (89)

Eastern Ranges goals: Apeness (2), Keedle (2), Hannon, Roth, McStay, Petracca
Dandenong Stingrays goals: Egan (3), Rennie (2), Pickess (2), McCartney (2), Jones, Bastinac, Lonie, Gardiner, Mullane
Eastern Ranges best: Nielson, Cavarra, Apeness, Petracca, Welsh, O’Sullivan
Dandenong Stingrays best: Foote, Jones, Harmes, Pickess, Bastinac, McCartney

In the first shock of the 2013 finals series, the Dandenong Stingrays knocked off Eastern Ranges by 33 points to advance through to the Preliminary Final. From the first bounce to the final siren, the intensity from the Stingrays was evident with a range of goal scoring options benefiting from the fast movement through the middle. Brady Egan, Matt Rennie, Josh Pickess and Clayton McCartney were the multiple goal scorers for the Stingrays as they were deadly accurate in front of the sticks. Zac Jones was best on ground in a fantastic effort while Nathan Foote and Clayton McCartney were also impressive. Eastern Ranges seemed to uncharacteristically lack forward targets with Michael Apeness the only multiple goal scorer at three quarter time before Mitch Keedle kicked a couple of goals in the final term. Ben Cavarra was the best for the losers.

SELECTED TEAMS:

Eastern Ranges:

B: Matthew Burt – Daniel Nielson – Aaron Bond
HB: Jordan Walker – Joseph Fisher – Sam Gibson
C: Nicholas Evans – Daniel Welsh – Mitch Keedle
HF: Christian Petracca – Daniel McStay – Mitch Honeychurch
F: Matthew Traynor – Thomas Boyd – Michael Apeness
R: Connor O’Sullivan – James Belo – Ben Cavarra

INT: Trent Cody – Christopher McDougall – Scott McInerney – Bryce Batty – Liam Riley – Chris Jones – Luke Hannon – Jacob Crowe

vs.

Dandenong Stingrays:

B: Daniel Capiron – Daylan Kempster – Dale Gawley
HB: Joshua Newman – Kyle Gray – Nathan Foote
C: Jordan Bastinac – James Harmes – Clayton McCartney
HF: Josh Pickess – Matt Rennie – Jack Lonie
F: Angus Scott – Jack Soroczynski – Nathan Gardiner
R: Jack Hammond – Zac Jones – Billy Hartung
INT: Tyle Williams – Jake Wilson – Brady Egan – Blake Pearson – Tom Lamb – Ryan Marks-Logan – Blake Mullane – Agape Patolo

KEY PLAYERS:

Eastern Ranges:

#1 – Aaron Bond (173 cm, 65 kg, Defender)

Aaron Bond is a reliable small defender who has good disposal and a level head. He rarely panics in situations and is one of the guys you’d be happy to have defending the goals on the last line. Bond thinks through his decisions and pinpoints options up the field and while he might not get the plaudits others on the team may receive, he is a vital player to the structure and accountable for his man. Another player who provides good run out of the back half and was a crucial player against the Geelong Falcons in ensuring they didn’t get many easy goals from a ground ball. Not one to shine but will play his role effectively and be one of the coaches favourites.

#2 – Ben Cavarra (173 cm, 69 kg, Midfielder)

Ben Cavarra might not be the flashiest player going around, but he is by far the most important cog in the Eastern Ranges midfield. He is a tough, uncompromising midfielder who racks up the clearances with ease. Captain of the Eastern Ranges, Cavarra is one of those players who could be considered the “nuts and bolts” of the team. At times he rushes his disposal, but his important clearing of the ball from stoppages is second to none. The likes of Cavarra will be benefited by the fact that Thomas Boyd and Michael Apeness will both be there so his high balls from stoppages have a higher chance of being marked. He is the type of player that every coach would love to have because he puts his body on the line week-in, week-out and you know exactly what you’re going to get from him.

#3 – Nicholas Evans (178 cm, 71 kg, Midfielder)

Nicholas Evans is one of the most underrated players in Eastern Ranges midfield with so much talk about Ben Cavarra, Mitch Honeychurch, James Belo and Mitch Keedle. He is a dual midfielder that while he plays predominantly outside, he can go inside and win his own ball. He complements the rest of the midfield perfectly and has great bursts of speed that helps him provide plenty of run and carry which ultimately helps Eastern find targets up forward. Along with Keedle, Evans is one of those guys that his teammates will look to get the ball in his hands as he uses it well and hits up targets more often than not. He’s the kind of guy that will need to be on his game to quell the running games of Zac Jones, Jack Lonie and Billy Hartung and provide the much needed run for Eastern.

#7 – Christian Petracca (185 cm, 96 kg, Medium Forward)

Christian Petracca is a player who oozes X-factor. He’s a bottom-ager who won’t be eligible for the draft until next year, but he has all the potential in the world. Without knowing anything else about him, you can clearly see that his build will give him an advantage over most defenders with his strength incredibly important in one-on-one contests. If he can get his goal kicking right, Petracca could well win a Coleman one day because he finds the ball with ease for a forward and if he can capitalise more often then he’ll become an elite player. He’s strong overhead and last week booted 5.5 against Geelong and made All-Australian defenders Darcy Gardiner and Fraser Fort look like second-rate players. Petracca is usually too strong for small defenders and too quick for taller defenders, a deadly combination. Petracca is one player who could win the best on ground award given his goal nous and creativity.

#8 – Daniel Nielson (192 cm, 87 kg, Key Defender)

So much is talked about the forward half of Eastern Ranges that the key defenders are often forgotten. Daniel Nielson is another bottom-age player who will have another year to improve and really put his hand up to be drafted next season. Already one of the better key defenders, Nielson will have the tough job of containing Matt Rennie, who on any given day could be a dangerous prospect for Dandenong. Nielson is great one-on-one and isn’t afraid to go back with the flight and take a mark. While he was beaten by Hugh Goddard and Patrick McCartin at times last week, he also stopped them completely destroying the game and will take confidence knowing he doesn’t have to face them again this week.

#10 – Jordan Walker (185 cm, 77 kg, Defender/Midfielder)

Jordan Walker is an over-age player who earned Vic Metro honours this year like so many of his teammates. He finds the ball well and has that stronger body which helps him assist teammates around the stoppages. When he plays in the middle, he can win the inside ball but also transfer to the outside and use his good decision making to hit up targets down the field. Might not have the exceptional kicking that others have, but he’s reasonably reliable by hand or foot and is another player that the coach would enjoy having knowing what he’ll offer to the team across four quarters.

#11 – Daniel McStay (193 cm, 86 kg, Key Utility)

Daniel McStay is the ace in the pack for Eastern Ranges. He can play back or forward and influence the game regardless of where he is playing. Against Dandenong in the Qualifying Final he primarily played forward but with Tom Boyd and Michael Apeness in the team, he can also have the reassurance that he will play back without worrying about forward targets. McStay loves to go for a hanger, taking a huge grab over Hugh Goddard and Patrick McCartin last week in one of the marks of the year. He has fantastic athleticism and is one of those guys that could go earlier than expected in the draft due to his versatility.

#12 – Mitch Honeychurch (175 cm, 65 kg, Midfielder/Forward)

Mitch Honeychurch is another Eastern Ranges player that just oozes X-factor. Honeychurch is almost programmed to break games open and play inside or out to hurt opposition teams at a whim. He can sometimes rush his decisions, but he’s strong around the hips, moves gracefully through packs and the ball just  seems to find him. Those fortunate enough to see him play against the Murray Bushrangers where he had 30+ disposals, 13 clearances and a few goals were able to see the kind of potential this kid has. While many might be scared off by his light frame, Honeychurch is deceptively strong and finds so much space that he can destroy teams if they give him an inch. He’s coming back from injury so question marks will be over how much he can influence the game.

#14 – Mitch Keedle (184 cm, 69 kg, Midfielder)

Mitch Keedle is probably the most outside midfielder in the TAC Cup. This isn’t a criticism of him, he just finds so much space and uses his pace and foot skills to find a player inside 50. Along with Evans, Keedle has that combination of pace and good disposal that can piece through opposition defences and apply scoreboard pressure. While he doesn’t have the best endurance and can go missing at times, when Keedle is on, he is one to watch. He’s a bit taller than his teammates in the midfield and while he’ll need to bulk up in order to play at AFL level, he has enough about him that he will make the step to the national competition.

#15 – Michael Apeness (199 cm, 101 kg, Key Forward)

There would be very few people who are more happy than Michael Apeness to see Tom Boyd back in that Eastern Ranges forward line. Since Boyd’s three month hiatus due to injury, Apeness has controlled the forward half, often having a few blokes hanging off him at every contest. He loves a contested grab and isn’t afraid to go for a pack mark when required. He is very underrated given his key forward partner and if most clubs at AFL level aren’t looking at him, there is something wrong. Already built and ready to go, watch out for Apeness in the Grand Final as he could get off the chain with focus turning to Boyd.

#17 – Tom Boyd (199 cm, 102 kg, Key Forward)

What do you say about a guy that is posted everywhere on the internet? Tom Boyd is the number one player at Under 18s level and is the dominant key forward in the upcoming draft. He is elite overhead, takes the ball at the highest point and is a deadly set shot on goal. For all those wondering whether it is worth trading for pick one to get him, most lists would trade 95 per cent of their players in a straight swap if it didn’t wreck the fabric of the club psyche. He is everything that’s been reported and more. If the likes of Daylan Kempster and Kyle Grey can reduce him to three or four goals, you’d consider it a win for the defenders such is his impact. The obvious question mark is over how he will go after being out for three months, but playing from the goal square would suggest that he won’t be required to ruck and move around the ground too much.

#18 – Connor O’Sullivan (196 cm, 92 kg, Ruck/Key Forward)

If there is one player who has stood tall this finals series, it’s Connor O’Sullivan who has been thrown the ruck duties the last couple of games and excelled despite only standing at 196 cm. He’s gone from being a foil second forward to being an influential player who racks up midfielder-like numbers around the ground. He could be a real smoky for the best on ground simply because he’s rucking against a smaller opponent in James Hammond and could really look to exert his influence on the contest. Can drift forward while Michael Apeness rucks and kick the odd goal as well with his long kick.

#21 – Joseph Fisher (187 cm, 79 kg, Defender)

Joseph Fisher is a lighter-framed defender who is crucial in rebounding ball from Eastern Ranges’ defence. Can play a little taller than his height suggests but can often be outmuscled against stronger defenders. Fisher is similar to a taller Heath Shaw with the run and carry he provides and will set up plenty of attacking movements from the back line. He is also respected around the club and from all reports has great work ethic and is one of the hardest trainers. Not a bad height for his position and definetely has the characteristics that could help clubs at the next level.

#26 – James Belo (186 cm, 78 kg, Midfielder)

James Belo is that other inside midfielder that isn’t afraid to give out body contact when required to win the footy. He loves the appetite of a contest and uses his larger frame to push other midfielders off the ball. Belo doesn’t mind the argy bargy of a few choice words to opposition players when they’ve made and error and gives it his all throughout matches. It was his first season in the TAC Cup this year and he has improved as the season has progressed. While he won’t be that flashy outside runner that the likes of Keedle or Honeychurch are, he’ll win the inside ball with Cavarra and be a vital link-up player for them.

#33 – Matthew Traynor (177 cm, 72 kg, Forward)

Matthew Traynor is one of those guys who you can’t believe is only 177 cm. While he doesn’t mind the crumbing goals, he is also strong overhead for someone of his height and isn’t afraid to lead out and demand the footy. Is a good kick for goal and adds another dimension to the Eastern Ranges’ forward line with Tom Boyd, Michael Apeness and Christian Petracca already appearing as threats. He doesn’t find a lot of the football but as his stats suggest, he doesn’t need to. Kicked four goals from as many kicks last week which highlights his damaging potential in the forward half.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#1 – Billy Hartung (176 cm, 71 kg, Small Utility)

Billy Hartung is X-factor personified. He has elite endurance, fantastic bursts of speed and a good penetrating kick. If you could rate players’ hurt factor, he would probably be an 11 out of 10 such is his ability to provide run and carry then go forward and slot goals. After playing primarily in the midfield and up forward earlier in the season, Hartung has been tried out as a running defender which has paid dividends. One could go as far as saying it is one of the key reasons why Dandenong are in this position. The drive that Hartung provides off half back is eye catching and he doesn’t mind taking the opposition on. One to definitely watch in terms of the best on ground.

#2 – Jordan Bastinac (182 cm, 76 kg, Midfielder)

Bastinac is the brother of North Melbourne’s Ryan and while he doesn’t have  quite the same ability that his brother had at Under 18s level, he does have a number of characteristics that clubs will like. Much like Billy Hartung he loves to run and carry. Watching carefully, Bastinac isn’t afraid to use the one-two handball chain to try and move the ball quickly through the middle of the ground. Often he’s rewarded with goals when he finds space inside 50 which is something Eastern Ranges will need to be aware of. While most eyes will be on Hartung or Zac Jones, Bastinac can sneak under the radar and no doubt there will be some eager North Melbourne fans watching to see if the club will reunite the brothers.

#3 – Angus Scott (172 cm, 71 kg, Midfielder)

Angus Scott is a highly underrated midfielder who has had some unfortunate luck with injury this season. He started the year like a house on fire and was selected in the large Vic Metro trial squad. Despite impressing, he missed out on selection and subsequently found himself injured for sustained periods of time. Another really quick player who can apply scoreboard pressure and use the ball well through the middle. Usually played on a wing, Scott can move into the middle and win his own footy then move it on to players up the ground before the opposition has even realised.

#7 – Nathan Foote (178 cm, 71 kg, Defender)

Nathan Foote will no doubt have the envious role of blocking the hole in between Tom Boyd and Michael Apeness, a job that wouldn’t receive many applicants on a daily basis. He’s the captain of the Stingrays and is a heart-and-soul type footballer who bleeds for the club and is a reliable player that gives his all across four quarters. He’s a very good decision maker and solid by foot which helps his case, but most of all he does provide run to compliment that of Billy Hartung and Daniel Capiron out of defence. Foote plays taller than you’d think and is solid overhead which is important. In great form at the moment too.

#9 – Jack Lonie (173 cm, 66 kg, Midfielder/Forward)

Jack Lonie is one of the most exciting players to look forward to next season. As a bottom-age player, he has already impressed throughout the season and really impacted through the middle and up forward with his dash and raking kick. A cousin of Ryan and Nathan who both made it to AFL level, Jack has the potential to be even better than both of them if he can not go down the same injury-prone track that they did. Lonie provides further run, not that Dandenong need any more and is able to take a hit like he did last week, to come back on and still kick a few goals. Another smoky for best on ground.

#10 – Clayton McCartney (176 cm, 70 kg, Forward/Midfielder)

Clayton McCartney is one of those players that will fall in and out of love with supporters. One week he could boot six goals and ice the match off his own boot and the next he will barely be sighted and be well held by the opposition defence. McCartney’s consistency arguably cost him a spot at the draft combine despite his obvious talent, but he has way too much X-factor for clubs to ignore him. Through the latter parts of the season, McCartney moved from being a permanent small forward to mostly play through the midfield and drift forward to kick goals. Another one who could get off the chain and but his hand up for best on ground.

#11 – Zac Jones (181 cm, 74 kg, Defender/Midfielder)

Zac Jones is the footballer everyone loves. He’s old fashioned, bleeds for the club and isn’t afraid of giving it to the opposition. A match will rarely go by where he doesn’t suck the opposition into a bit of a wrestle and could be described as the Hayden Ballantyne of the TAC Cup. In saying that, he lets his performances do the talking and it was no surprise he earned All-Australian honours this year. Jones is the brother of Melbourne’s Nathan and there have the same hard-nosed attitude that will attract many clubs to the dangerous midfielder/half back. If Dandenong win, he’ll be right up there in contention for best on ground and will be one of the most watched by Eastern Ranges midfield.

#14 – Daniel Capiron (188 cm, 80 kg, Defender)

A player to watch out for next year is medium defender Daniel Capiron. Unlike so many smaller players, he has the perfect height/weight ratio that would probably see him drafted this year, let alone next. He has improved rapidly over the season and will only continue to improve through 2014 to stake his claim to find an AFL club. He’s very eye-catching and one of the men who will be keeping a close eye on Christian Petracca to make sure he doesn’t get off the chain or fly under the radar. This weekend could be the making of Daniel Capiron and will give him confidence going into next year as a top-ager.

#16 – Jake Wilson (183 cm, 84 kg, Defender)

A month ago, many might not have had his name in the key players list because he is under-age and just another one from the Stingrays who look like building a formidable force next season. For those who watched the finals series, Wilson has been phenominal, particularly last week as he was a vital cog in the defence, taking some crucial marks and helping out his teammates in clearing it from defence. He’s a good size that could move into the midfield next year but he’s a fantastic defender who rarely loses out one-on-one and is looming as a key match up for someone like a Mitch Honeychurch when he goes forward.

#21 – Matt Rennie (190 cm, 81 kg, Key Forward)

Matt Rennie is an undersized key forward, but is a fantastic contested grab. He is a confidence player with his goal kicking which means he can kick 5.0 or 0.5 depending on how he goes early. It will be important for him to get a feel for it in the opening quarter and kick an easy goal to then open it right up. Won’t have it easy playing on Daniel Nielson, but is incredibly strong and plays taller than he is. One that must be kept quiet if Eastern Ranges are to limit the scoreboard pressure put on by Dandenong.

#24 – Jack Soroczynski (186 cm, 81 kg, Midfielder)

Jack Soroczynski is another hard inside midfielder who can also win outside ball to create plays up the field. He’s often an impact player that can have bursts where he will be involved in a chain of possessions. His flexibility means he can play across the ground where needed and if he can improve his endurance some more, could become a really good player. Eligible to be drafted and don’t be totally shocked if he wasn’t given a chance late or in the rookie draft. Great one-on-one and another player who will need to play well to quell the influence of Eastern Ranges’ inside midfielders.

#26 – Daylan Kempster (192 cm, 84 kg, Key Defender)

Dandenong are the breeding ground for talented bottom-agers and they have seemingly found another one in Daylan Kempster. He was little heard of outside of the Stingrays but over the past month has made a name for himself as that key defender. Throughout the season he has taken some important scalps and was impressive on the likes of Michael Apeness in the opening match. Unfortunately for him, he has the penultimate challenge in Tom Boyd and will be hoping that fitness plays a part given he gives up six centimetres and about 18 kilograms. One thing Kempster does have over Boyd is his athleticism so if he is able to read the ball early, he can help beat Boyd on the lead once it hits the ground.

#30 – Tom Lamb (191 cm, 82 kg, Tall Utility)

Genuinely one of the most exciting players in the league and he has got another year for the Stingrays to enjoy. At  191 cm, he plays everywhere from midfield to key forward to roaming half back. Lamb is one of those players that has a free license to roam the ground and influence it around the field with his strong body that often out-muscles opponents. Can drift forward and kick a bag of goals and will probably play the majority of the match there given they will be keen to force Eastern Ranges’ hand with Daniel McStay. Another one who could steal the best on ground honours if he can find the space and get off the leash.

#41 – Josh Pickess (180 cm, 75 kg, Forward)

Josh Pickess is a highly underrated player who does all the right things you expect of a smaller forward. He’s not the type to kick a bag of goals, but his pressure acts and contested ball winning ability helps him assist others to hit the scoreboard. Another one from the Stingrays who will be highly rated by the coaching staff for his defensive pressure and will be given a role on one of the attacking Eastern Ranges’ half backs. Won’t be the flashy player that others can be, but he’ll give you a four quarter effort which is all you can ask from your players.

#44 – James Harmes (183 cm, 75 kg, Midfielder)

James Harmes has had a fantastic second half of the season for the Dandenong Stingrays, having been rewarded with an invite to the draft combine. While some may not have been expecting it, Harmes has shown in glimpses the talent he possesses with great disposal and strong hands for a player of his size. He’s not afraid to win his own ball, but mostly uses his pace and foot skills to move the ball down the wings and hurt opponents offensively. A dark horse in the best on ground awards given he’s obviously getting noticed by recruiters which is why he’s been invited to the draft combine.

KEY STATISTICS: vs. Opposition (Click to Enlarge)

Eastern Ranges defenders vs. Dandenong Stingrays forwards

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Midfield battle

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Eastern Ranges forwards vs. Dandenong Stingrays defenders

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FIVE KEY MATCH UPS:

1. Thomas Boyd (Eastern Ranges) vs. Daylan Kempster (Dandenong Stingrays)

Tom Boyd is the best Under 18s player and the dominant key forward in the TAC Cup. Hasn’t kicked less than three goals in a game this season and polled 11 votes in just five matches for the Morrish Medal. Strong overhead, a great kick for goal and an imposing figure on the ground, Boyd is going to be the most watched player in the Grand Final. Daylan Kempster is that up-and-coming defender who has met all challenges posed to him so far, but no-one would blame him for not sleeping tonight ahead of the clash. He’ll be needing to hope the delivery inside 50 is off target because he’ll beat Boyd in a foot race. It is likely Nathan Foote will be the man to stand in between the hole, but another uncompromising player is Tom Lamb who is stronger overhead. Unfortunately, Dandenong would prefer him up the ground so he’ll be unlikely to start there, more as an insurance policy if Boyd kicks a few. If the inside 50s are thick and fast, it will be a long day for Kempster who has the toughest job in the Grand Final.

2. Zac Jones (Dandenong Stingrays) vs. James Belo (Eastern Ranges)

Two players that love the inside ball and argy-bargy of the contest are Zac Jones and James Belo. Both players aren’t afraid to put their bodies on the line and also mouth off to the opposition to remind them how they could have corrected their mistakes. Belo is taller and stronger, but Jones is stronger than his size suggests which makes this a tantalising contest. In terms of hurt factor, Jones has more, but Belo is arguably slightly better at the inside contest. Jones’ best asset is his kicking under pressure which is rarely off target and can have little bursts of speed that hurt the opposition. Belo doesn’t have that speed to match Jones, but if he can use his body to out-muscle him at contests, he’ll go a long way in determining the contest.

3. Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges) vs. Daniel Capiron (Dandenong Stingrays)

Of all the match ups, this is one to not only watch in this match, but one to stay tuned for next year. Both are under-age players and both are incredibly talented in their respective positions. Capiron has had a fantastic few weeks and did well watching Petracca in the first final which he’ll be hoping to do again. Petracca on the other hand tore the game apart last week, booting 5.5 in a dominant display against two talented defenders in Darcy Gardiner and Fraser Fort. Capiron is the right size to take Petracca even though Petracca might be a little strong from him. Capiron has the pace to worry the Eastern Ranges coaching staff, but Petracca can be equally as dangerous which makes it an enticing match up.

4. Billy Hartung (Dandenong Stingrays) vs. Mitch Honeychurch (Eastern Ranges)

If you are talking pure star quality, the Hartung-Honeychurch potential match up could take the cake. Both players are primarily outside players who hurt the opposition offensively which means both sides could back their player in to hurt the other side more. Hartung can go through the midfield and half forward to kick goals, but one can only assume he start on the half back flank as he has this finals series. One thing he’ll need to watch is to be accountable because if he is unaccountable against Mitch Honeychurch, he’ll potentially be conceeding a number of goals. One the other hand, Honeychurch must also be aware of Hartung’s ability to run and carry out of the defence and can’t afford to let him get too much ball or Dandenong could rebound the ball off half back all day long.

5. Clayton McCartney (Dandenong Stingrays) vs. Mitch Keedle (Eastern Ranges)

Much like the Hartung-Honeychurch match up, these players might not be opposed to each other, but they will play a similar role which means it could be another head-to-head dual to see who is able to hurt the opposition the most. Both players have the ability to drift forward and kick goals at opportune times while creating pace on the outside. McCartney has extreme X-factor which sees him as a dangerous prospect around goals and can’t be taken lightly. Keedle on the other hand finds space inside 50 and can also convert on a regular basis. One would suggest whichever player drifts forward will see a defender take them rather than the other following them into the defensive 50.

THREE REASONS WHY EASTERN RANGES CAN WIN

1. Tom Boyd
2. A dominant forward line with so many options that could impact the scoreboard
3. A perfectly balanced midfield of inside (Belo, Cavarra) and outside (Keedle, Evans, Honeychurch) players

THREE REASONS WHY DANDENONG STINGRAYS CAN WIN

1. Enormous amount of run from the half back line and through the middle will hurt the taller Eastern Ranges
2. Flexible players such as Zac Jones, Billy Hartung and Tom Lamb who can really impact the game across the field
3. They beat them three weeks ago for a reason and they’ll be looking to re-produce that effort this week

BOUND FOR GLORY NEWS RISING STARS PREDICTIONS:

Peter Williams
Tip: Eastern Ranges
Margin: 2 points
BOG: Christian Petracca (ER)

Jourdan Canil
Tip: Eastern Ranges
Margin: 12 points
BOG: Christian Petracca (ER)

Madelyn Friend
Tip: Eastern Ranges
Margin: 18 points
BOG: Christian Petracca (ER)

Alex Takle
Tip: Eastern Ranges
Margin: 25 points
BOG: James Belo (ER)

Christian Hartung
Tip: Dandenong Stingrays
Margin: 15 points
BOG: Billy Hartung (DS)

Stephen Marson
Tip: Eastern Ranges
Margin: 28 points
BOG: Christian Petracca (ER)

Nathan Weatherhead
Tip: Eastern Ranges
Margin: 21 points
BOG: Ben Cavarra (ER)

Josh Hanrahan
Tip: Dandenong Stingrays
Margin: 4 points
BOG: Zac Jones (DS)

Total:
Eastern Ranges (6)
Dandenong Stingrays (2)

BOG:
Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges) (4)
James Belo (Eastern Ranges) (1)
Ben Cavarra (Eastern Ranges (1)
Billy Hartung (Dandenong Stingrays) (1)
Zac Jones (Dandenong Stingrays (1)

Listen to Peter Williams, Stephen Marson and Alex Takle reviewing the preliminary finals and previewing the Grand Final here:

FINAL WORD

Before this week, many were penciling Geelong Falcons in on the premiership cup given their enormous amount of talent and depth they had through their list. Unfortunately for them, Eastern Ranges tore up the script and now find themselves in the Grand Final and have a chance at redemption after losing to the Dandenong Stingrays three weeks earlier. Since then they have had two fantastic performances which changes the landscape dramatically, but Dandenong are in great form as well. This will come down to whether Dandenong can win the midfield and if Eastern Ranges can win the midfield, how the delivery inside 50 goes. If Tom Boyd and Michael Apeness among other can get off the chain, it could be a long day for Dandenong, but if the delivery inside 50 isn’t on target then the Stingrays will rebound with ease. Many have their opinions on who will win this match, but it honestly looks like it could be a coin toss as to who will get the job done. All the public can hope for is a great contest, showcasing the best youth in the country.

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