It is rather fitting the two remaining teams left in the TAC Cup competition are the top two teams from the home and away season. In a finals series that mirrored the AFL one, both third and fourth placed sides bombed out in straight sets, but their two conquerors couldn’t make it three wins in a row.
On Sunday, the Calder Cannons will face the Oakleigh Chargers in a battle that ought to have plenty of interested onlookers at Etihad Stadium.
After disposing of the Rebels by 100 points, the Cannons knocked off the Stingrays after a strong first quarter then cruised home with some bruise free footy to be cherry ripe for the big dance.
The Oakleigh Chargers had a slightly tougher run to the Grand Final, miraculously overcoming a determined Falcons outfit to kick the last two goals of the game and steal victory from the jaws of defeat. The Chargers then followed up with a strong performance against the Sandringham Dragons to have some pundits believing they could knock off the Cannons.
It’s hard to sugarcoat it, the job the Chargers have ahead of them is massive – the Cannons are clearly the best side and have very few weaknesses across the field.
Darcy Moore’s form last week, including a giant hanger, was promising. Alex Urban and Jordan De Goey were also impressive while Jack Sinclair and the pint-sized Liam Kinsella were also dangerous around goal.
Hugh Beasley is able to organize the troops down back and not only locks down his opponent, but provides critical run from half back.
Arguably the most impressive aspect of the preliminary final win was the form of Lachlan Waddell and Marc Pittonet who rotated between ruck and forward and played as a foil for Moore.
Moore has played at both ends of the ground this season, but for the Chargers to win, he must play forward.
The Calder Cannons have an enormous amount of talent with their forward line containing some mammoth men in Peter Wright and Jayden Foster as well as the rotating ruck.
Through the midfield they have the likes of bottom-ager Nick O’Kearney, Touk Miller and Matthew Goodyear. Throw in Paul Ahern and Zac Wunhym and the midfield/forward line stretches incredibly deep.
Reilly O’Brien has been transformed from a ruck into a key defender while Mark Kovacevic remarkably plays at both ends of the field.
The fact alone that Calder’s sixth forward is arguably Callum Moore is scary enough for opposition clubs, throwing in the dangerous Josh Cauchi and the potent Damien Cavka.
Oakleigh Chargers have the potential to nullify a number of Calder’s stars, but it’s hard to see them getting up in the Grand Final. Calder’s worst enemy is arguably themselves with complacency and reading into the hype the only likely causes of not taking home the cup.
It’s not incomprehensible to imagine Oakleigh stealing a flag, but most avid TAC Cup watchers would agree it’s going to take a mammoth effort, and Calder may also need to be off its game.
In terms of man of the match, names such as Nick O’Kearney, Damien Cavka, Paul Ahern and Zac Wunhym would be amongst the favourites while for Oakleigh, Alex Urban, Jordan De Goey, Hugh Beasley and Darcy Moore would be the top contenders.
Oakleigh will stay with Calder for three quarters, but the Calder legs and ability to pressure the opposition all over the ground is unbelievable and would give some VFL sides a real shake.
Tip: Calder by 34 points
BOG: Damien Cavka (Calder Cannons)