Division 4 South Finals Wk 1 Preview

By Beth Newman

The Division Four South finals kick off at Ballina tomorrow.

Top of the table Byron Bay takes on the Tweed Coast Tigers in the second semi-final, with a grand final berth up for grabs.

The Magpies finished the season two games clear on top of the ladder, and will go in favourites for the match, but that doesn’t bother Tigers coach, Shane Shallue one bit.

“It should be a pretty hard match, but we’ll jut be treating it like every other game,” he said.

Shallue  said playing the game at a neutral venue, in Ballina, would be an overall positive thing for the side.

“It’s not really a benefit to either of us,” he said.

“It’s neutral, there’s no home ground advantage, there are no excuses.”

The two sides were scheduled to meet last week, but the Magpies forfeited, leaving the Tigers to draw on their Rd 13 meeting, going into this final.

Shallue said he would be looking for his side to play smarter against Byron Bay tomorrow, after fading in last month’s match up.

“The last time we were in front at half time and they came back and had a good win against us,” he said.

“We want to be a bit smarter in our football, maybe player more one-on-one.
“They’re a pretty good running side and their on-ballers are pretty handy, so we’ll be wary of them.”

The Magpies and Tigers play off for a spot in the grand final at 2:30 tomorrow, at Fripp Oval.

Earlier in the day, Ballina and Bond Uni will battle it out to keep their seasons alive in the first semi-final.

The Bombers will have a crucial home ground advantage in the match, which should hold them in good stead.

It’s been a incredible season for the Northern Rivers club, who were close to folding earlier this year before putting the call out for players and getting themselves back on track.

Bombers coach, Peter Plummer, said his inexperienced side was looking forward to the chance to play in a final, and hoped it would help create a closer bond between the players.

“What I feel they get out of it is more bonding and mateship,” he said.

“They’re all really enjoying each other’s friendship if you can be successful in the end, you’ve got mateship for life.

“I know this is going to be a two-three year process to get the club back to the successful heights it has been at, so if we can progress this week, that would be great.”

The Bombers have proven their raw talent this season, beating both the top teams in recent weeks, and they will have plenty of confidence from their last match up against Bond, in which they ran out 65-point winners.

Ballina takes on Bond Uni at 12:00 at Fripp Oval.

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