Around the Regions: Finals Preview

By Isaac Hey

Image: Brian Cassidy

AFL Capricornia

Glenmore Bulls vs Boyne Island Tannum Sands Saints

Saturday, August 25th, 2018
Stenlake Park, 3:45pm

The Glenmore Bulls are set to host the Boyne Island Tannum Saints in a heated preliminary contest this Saturday at Stenlake Park, striving for a meeting with The Yeppoon Swans in the Grand Final on the first of September.

The Bulls will be looking to bounce back and focusing on a four-quarter game after their second-half let them down against 2018 minor premiers, and 2017 premiers the Yeppoon Swans.

Meanwhile, the Saints will be focussed on building from a week off and their tight victory against the Rockhampton Panthers in the elimination final.

Six points separated second and third Glenmore and BITS on the premiership ladder, with the Bulls clinching two of the three matches between the clubs thus far in 2018. The most recent encounter saw the Bulls ease home with a 72-point win.

Though it’s the Saints with the winning record at Stenlake Park so far this year after taking away a cool 36-point win back in mid-June, setting up a very interesting contest.

Glenmore’s goal kicking force have been clinical all year, and sure to keep Saints defenders more than busy throughout the contest. While the sharp-shooting Saint, Brendan Clarke is also set to build on his finals form, after his cool six goals in their qualifier.

The stage is set for a big clash between two genuine contenders this Saturday ensuring a date in September with the Swans.

AFL Townsville

Hermit Park Tigers vs Thuringowa Bulldogs

Saturday, August 25th, 2018
Riverway Stadium, 3:15pm

Minor Premiers Hermit Park Tigers will kick off footy finals in Townsville this weekend as they host second-placed Thuringowa Bulldogs in the preliminary final at Riverway Stadium on Saturday.

The reigning premier Tigers will be eyeing off a near perfect 2018 as they look for yet another grand final birth, while the Bulldogs are set to bounce back from a sloppy loss last week against the Suns.

It’s the Tigers that will go into the contest full of confidence after remaining so composed all year and putting on clinical wins of 70 and 94 in their previous two meetings with Thuringowa. But let us not rule out the Dogs, who should take huge confidence into the game being the only team to topple the formidable Tigers this year.

Tigers main man for 2018, Jason Di Betta has kicked a whopping 54 goals so far this year, and will no doubt feature against the Bulldogs as he did two weeks ago when he slotted home six in their win.

The winner will slot into the grand final while the loser will have the chance to rectify their performance next week as they face the winner of the qualifying final next Saturday.

University Hawks vs Northern Beaches Suns

Saturday, August 26th, 2018
Riverway Stadium, 3:15pm

Townsville’s second finals fixture this weekend sees last year’s grand finalists the University Hawks take on the Northern Beaches Suns in an effort to keep their seasons alive at Riverway Stadium this Sunday.

The Hawks finished even with second-placed Thuringowa Bulldogs and only missed reaching the qualifying final on goal percentage will surely be looking to make a statement and sweep aside the Suns as they have four times this season.

Although the Hawks have the recent finals experience, and four wins over the Suns this year under their belt already, the last two meetings resulted in a 10 point or less deficit, which could shape for a fiery matchup.

Hawks goal kicker Zammi Rohan kicked a whopping eight goals in their last round thrashing of last place Curra Swans and will look to use that confidence in a vital clash against a much more challenging backline.

The winner will keep their finals hopes alive leading into next week’s grand final qualifier against the loser between the Hermit Park Tigers vs Thuringowa Bulldogs, meanwhile, the loser will begin their wait for 2019.

AFL Darling Downs

South Toowoomba vs Warwick Redbacks

Saturday August 25th, 2018
Heritage Oval, 2:30pm

The South Toowoomba Bombers are set to host the Warwick Redbacks in the Darling Downs knockout final at Heritage Oval this Saturday.

Both clubs clinched their knockout finals positions only on percentage and will be looking to prove to the rest of the competition that the premiership is anyone’s for the taking.

It was the Bombers who clenched a 26-point win early in the season, but since the Redbacks got one back at them in a deserved team performance away from home in the last round implying an interesting battle.

The Redbacks got home by 20 points thanks to the help of reliable kicking from key target Ben Heppell, who kicked three for the day and has tallied 59 for the season.

South Toowoomba will be looking to their footy finders Jeff Neumann, Coen Slatter, Bradley Knowles who have all had terrific seasons with the footy and will be vital in the result come Saturday and into September.

University of South Queensland Cougars vs Goondiwindi Hawks

Saturday August 25th, 2018
USQ AFL oval, 2:30pm

The University of South Queensland Cougars are set and ready to host the Goondiwindi Hawks for the first round of the Darling Downs AFL finals at the University of South Queensland this Saturday.

Minor Premiers USQ will be looking to forget about their recent past against the second-placed Hawks, which finished as a Hawk win in a three-point thriller back in round 14.

Having bounced back from their only loss of the season with two comfortable wins leading into the finals, the Cougars will meet the Hawks again, who are in a purple patch themselves following their 10-match winning streak.

At the beginning of the season the Hawks only had the one win from four, but since then they have been unbeatable and responsible for some of the biggest thrashings in the year, including three 200+ point wins.

A pivotal part in their attack is David O’Toole, who has kicked 114 goals for the season and 11 goals in the final round. O’Toole could be the difference throughout the finals for the Hawks if his form continues.

With both teams having a win on each other throughout the 2018 regular season, Saturday is set for a fiery contest between two proven sides worthy of a grand final appearance awarded to the victor.

AFL Wide Bay

Hervey Bay AFC & CC vs Bay Power AFC

Saturday August 25, 2018
Brother AFL Complex, 3:00pm

Hervey Bay Bombers will host the Bay Power this Saturday at the Brothers AFL Complex for a spot in the Grand Final against the Gympie Cats.

After a 10-point loss last week, the Bombers look to capitalise on their second chance for a spot in the final, meanwhile, the Bay Power are coming off a smooth 39 point win which saw the Brothers Bulldogs eliminated last week.

The Bombers clinched the minor premiership on percentage in the regular season only to lose in the first round of finals and could provide an opportunity for the Power as they look to capitalise on recent form.

Bay Power goal kicking guns Matthew Schlein and Joshua Wheeler have been consistent all year and nothing less is expected of them should the Power take their opportunity into the final.

The top three were the stand-alone forces in the competition with only goal percentages to separate them. With only one spot to meet the Cats in the final, both teams should provide a fierce battle in the middle, leaving everything on the pitch.

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