Everything you need to know about this weekend’s matches.
SPRINGWOOD v MAGPIES:
Springwood and the Magpies have faced off only once this season, with the Pumas claiming victory at Chelmer. Apart from that most recent win, the Magpies have the wood over the Pumas in recent times. That said, this Pumas side is vastly different to that of previous years and the Magpies will be well aware of that fact at Lowe Oval tomorrow.
Pumas captain, Mark Thompson, has been overshadowed by some of Springwood’s bigger names this season, but his contribution cannot be underrated. Thompson is cool under pressure and a sensational finisher, playing in the forward line or through the midfield. The club stalwart epitomises the transformation of the club this year, becoming an elite player of the competition.
There are plenty to choose from, and I can’t pick one particular player, so I’m going with their whole midfield. Sure, their forwards fired last weekend, but as the cliché goes, your forwards are only as good as the delivery they get. And they get silver service. Jimmy Rozynski, Reid Dobson, Tim McEvoy and a host of others sliced open the Lions last weekend and if they play like that again, the Pumas should be scared.
Greg Friis has been one of Springwood’s most consistent performers in 2013. Playing in defence and through the midfield, the bulky Puma stands out from the crowd. His versatility will be crucial for the Pumas on Saturday.
Kale Reed has taken the torch off Anthony Corrie in the last fortnight, as the league’s leading goal kicker is increasingly looked after. Reed won’t be forgotten by the Pumas, but you can only cover so many, so look out if Reed gets off the leash again tomorrow.
Across the ground:
Springwood plays a physical game, and the Magpies will be ready for that in the middle. The Pumas’ bigger bodies, on a smaller oval, will make it harder for the visitors to penetrate their forward line with such ease. The Pumas defence has been rock solid this season and Jake Furfaro back, they have plenty of class in their forwards. This will come down to that midfield battle.
Tip: I’m probably guilty of underrating the Pumas here, but they haven’t played a top six side since June and might be found wanting. The Magpies look the real deal.
PALM BEACH v SURFERS
These two Gold Coast sides have clashed twice in 2013, with the Lions claiming the win on both occasions. In Round one Palm Beach got up by 44 points, with Nathan Carr booting six, Ben Heffernan-Roper having a day out. The second time around, the margin was 67, with the Demons missing some key personnel in the final regular rounds.
Zane Murphy has led the Lions midifeld incredibly well this seaosn. Murphy is a hard-nosed midfielder and is crucial in stoppages .The Tasmanian has been close to the most consistent player in his side and you can expect him to produce another stellar performance on Sunday.
Jake Ryan is the reigning Duncanson Todd medallist and proved his class against Grange last weekend. He might be one of the elder statesmen of the side, but that experience made all the difference as he lot the match sealer against the Gorillas. He is still pretty much the most valuable member of the Surfers side.
Jesse Derrick has been a super swingman for the Lions this season, unstoppable in defence and a handy forward addition as well. If Derrick can have a major say on the contest, it will go a long way to deciding the match.
Regan Finlay is back in the Demons side this weekend and will be a major boost to the side. Finlay’s season looked over when he injured his ankle late in the season but he is back and could be a key part of any Surfers victory on Sunday.
Across the ground:
Both of these sides are happy to run with the ball, so expect this to be a free-flowing contest. The Demons run really well in transition, but showed their ability to adapt to finals pressure last weekend against Grange. With the possible injection of Clint Kelly and Tyson Dyer into the Lions’ forward line, their marking potency will be far greater than it was against the Magpies.
Tip: The Demons were close to their best against the Gorillas, but I think a desperate Palm Beach will simply be too good.