By Grant Hitzman
Pine Rivers will play host to Logan in their do or die semi-final clash this Saturday, in what should be a ferocious battle for finals survival.
On paper, the matchup is mouthwatering.
Pine Rivers are unbeaten at home this season, claiming the scalps of competition heavyweights, Coomera and Beenleigh, along the way to a perfect 7-0 home record.
Pine Rivers’ recent form has been just as ominous as their home ascendancy, finishing the regular season with six wins on the trot.
Red-hot form accompanied with home ground dominance would surely have the Swans as unbackable favourites.
That is until you realise that the last time these two teams played, Logan won convincingly by 49 points and have stormed home in the back half of the season to win 8 of their last 9 games.
Pine Rivers senior coach, Ben Long, is more than aware of the Cobras’ excellence, adamant that his players must turn up focused and ready if they want the desired result.
“We have a fair bit of respect for Logan, we have seen them as one of the toughest sides in the competition all year. They played out of their skin last time we met. We are expecting a really tough game,” Long said.
“We have taken a confidence boost from our finish to the year and know exactly what we are capable of, but we are not underestimating our opponents at all.”
Pine Rivers will head into Saturday’s game minus the services of Nathan Boucher, who has failed to recover from a calf injury.
“Nathan is probably one of our better players, so it is a big loss, but we are pretty close to full strength, we have trained well this week,” Long said.
The semi-final will kick off at 2:15 on Saturday, August 10 at Rob Akers Reserve, Strathpine.
The winner will move on to face either Beenleigh or Coomera in the preliminary final on August 17th.
An intense, passionate and physical affair can be expected as both teams fight to keep their season and finals hopes alive.
Coomera and Beenleigh will face off for a spot in the SEQAFL Seniors Division 3 Grand Final this Saturday, at Wynnum.
Coomera have the wood over Beenleigh, defeating the Buffaloes earlier in the season by 61 points and most recently in round 17 by a comfortable 39 points.
Coomera have been in scintillating form in 2013, suffering just one defeat against Pine Rivers in round 10.
The Magpies have proved to be the complete football team this year, their defensive pressure a major key to success.
Beenleigh, not to be underestimated, have had an excellent campaign in 2013.
The Buffaloes have been a title threat from the beginning, claiming impressive victories over fellow finals contenders Pine Rivers and Logan.
Their spearhead forward, Ashley Templar, has been a nightmare for defenders, leading the competition with 89 goals.
Templar has booted 10 goals on three separate occasions in 2013, including a whopping 14 against Calamvale in the final game of the regular season.
Plenty is up for grabs in Saturday’s clash, with the victor assured of a Grand Final spot, the week off and momentum heading into the decider.
The loser will face the winner of the Pine Rivers and Logan game on August 17, making the journey to premiership glory that much tougher.
The semi-final will kick off at 1:15 on Saturday, August 10 at Kianawah Road, Wynnum, with the winner moving to the Grand Final on August 24.