FRIDAY FORECAST: Preliminary Final

Preliminary Final
Western Magpies vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Saturday September 10, 2:00pm, Graham Road, Aspley
LIVE BLOG FROM 1:45PM

The go to

Lions: They got back to their best last week with the way they won the ground level ball and moved the ball quickly – but more importantly – cleanly, in transition. That’ll be a focus again.

Magpies: They won the game last time by the way they got on the outside. They pulled the trigger down the middle when required, but the way they ran away from contest was what did it. Expect it to be the same this time.

 

What they will try and stop

Lions: Cannot let the Magpies have the space and freedom they had last time. Have to build a brick wall in front of them and make them move sideways rather than direct.

Magpies: Have to stop quick forward entries. The Lions got back from a six-goal deficit last time thanks to just pumping the ball in long, making it ugly and swooping on the loose ball.

 

Key match-ups

Moreton vs. Croad: Their strength is their versatility around the ground so they are going to both try and be marking targets down the line. Croad peels off out to the wing better than anyone in the competition, so Moreton will have to decide whether to go with him, or stay to cut of the kick into the middle… that’s a headache

Carseldine vs. Derrick: Wrote about this matchup last time and will write about it again, because they are two of the best operators in the business in the middle. They are so vital for their team going forward and gaining metres. If one has a bigger game than the other, their team will be well placed.

Pershouse vs. Douglas: One of the most intriguing questions of the afternoon is who will play on Douglas. Wenham did it last time, but he is out injured. Does Clarke put his faith in Pershouse, who has delivered so often this year. I think so, it makes the most sense. Pershouse’s best bet is to play a meter off and get a fist in, but the real interest will come once the ball hits the deck.

 

The dream

Lions:  Douglas gets off the chain and the Lions get the buy-in from their kids like Dawson and Richie, freeing Derrick and Woolley up.

Magpies: Staker has three in the first quarter and the Magpies backline holds the Lions to a goal.

 

The nightmare

Lions:  Lions have another three shots to win the game late, but can’t capitalise.

Magpies: The Magpies open up a massive lead, but can’t close out the game

 

The game breaker

Lions: Jon Croad has been in red-hot form this finals series and when he is playing well, the Lions walk taller. If he plays well, the Lions are in with a sniff regardless of what else is happening.

Magpies: Cal Carseldine. He was huge last time they played; in fact, he probably got them over the line. If the game is there to be won at the death, look for him to get his hands on the footy.

 

Last time they met:

It was just two weeks ago. The Magpies put the foot down early to skip away to a six-goal lead in the second quarter, before the Lions reeled them in, setting up a thrilling last quarter. In the end, it was the Magpies who hung on by four-points in a thriller.

 

Team news:

Lions: Steve Thynne, Flinn Chisholm, Danny Grant. Three of the biggest inclusions you could have this time of year. Going to do wonders in transition, but they will all be a little underdone after not playing in three weeks.

Magpies: Will Fletcher will come in for Richard Wenham, who has been sidelined for a week. Dom Beer is listed as an emergency this week, so we will all have play the waiting game to see if he comes into the ruck or not, as is Lachie Woods, who missed last week with an quad nick.

 

Tip:

Lions by 3

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By Andrew Wiles

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