AP Cup: The Six Points

Community footy writer, Beth Newman, looks at some of the talking points from Saturday’s preliminary final.

1. Nathan Carr is back

The Lions spearhead has been quiet by his standards this finals series, but he played a key role in the preliminary final win on the weekend. Carr finished with five goals, and seemed to enjoy making things difficult for himself, with some spectacular goals from the boundary.  It’s a good time for him to be rocketing back into form, and Springwood will be watching out for him this weekend, for sure.

2. There’s still plenty of heat in this rivalry.

The score might not have been all that close in the end, but both sides desperately wanted the win, not just because it gave them a grand final spot. The two teams have plenty of history and there was no love lost between Magpies co-captain Gerard Moore and his former teammate, Matt Dillon. The two had a bit of a catch up late in the game, in an exchange with a bit of bite. Dillon and Ben Heffernan-Roper played some of their best footy of the year for the Lions against their old team, with plenty of added motivation to best their previous team.

3.  The Lions defence is rock solid.

Palm Beach’s back line has seen little change this year and it’s paying dividends, with their defenders the most intimidating of the competition.  Their stopping ability is sensational, only topped by their incredibly rebounding displays off half-back. Premierships are built around defence and Palm Beach most definitely has a flag-worthy foundation.

4. Cometh the hour, cometh the Gus.

In finals, there are always a handful of players who step up to the plate at pivotal times. Palm beach had the breeze and the upper hand in the opening quarter on Saturday, but they couldn’t get their shots through the middle. Enter Angus Munro, the Lions captain, to steady the ship. Munro kicked the side’s opening two goals when no-one else could and showed exactly how important captains’ goals are.

5. The wobbles are back.

Palm Beach finished with 40 scoring shots to 12 on Saturday, but only managed 19 goals. Both sides admitted it was that wayward kicking that kept the magpies in contention until late in the third quarter. Lions coach, Daryn Cresswell, said it wasn’t something he was worried about, but they should be looking to amend that against Springwood. The Pumas are potent in attack and wobbly kicking will be punished by the minor premiers.

6. Family ties.

Jesse and Matt Derrick both produced sensational games on the weekend. Matt, on Anthony Corrie, kept one of the competition’s best kickers almost unsighted for most of the match, while Jesse was damaging on the half-forward flank. Jesse has been sensational for the Lions this season, named in the team of the year, and his versatility is a massive boost for his side. Now, the two have a chance to play in a flag together for the first time in a long time. And Palm Beach would be super grateful for that.

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