By Beth Newman
1. Pouncing Tigers, Healthy List
Labrador’s bill of health has come clean at just the right time, a far cry from their midseason woes in which their injured group stretched well into double figures. With almost a full complement of players, bar unlucky recruit Shaydon Bloomfield and Hugh Wadsworth, who suffered a shoulder injury in their semi, the Tigers are stronger than they have been. That showed against the Vultures and will make for an enthralling battle at H&A Oval, playing the Lions with their strongest team in any of their clashes this season.
2. Vultures growing wings
Mt Gravat’s improvement was immense through the 2014 season and with the majority of their group in their early 20s, their upside is, quite frankly, a scary thought. Only a kick away from a preliminary final, the developing side showed their incredible pace and exciting plays once again. Decision making under pressure cost them but as they grow, that will go.
3. Everyone must join the pride
Palm Beach threaten Morningside when they play the suffocating defensive style that they started with on Saturday. Unfortunately, if one or two players let it slip, they unravel. That is what happened at Jack Esplen Oval and nine unanswered Panthers goals later, the Lions’ first grand final shot flew out of their reach.
4. Kelly the key
Clint Kelly has emerged as Palm Beach’s best key forward this season. While much discussion surrounds his attacking partner, Bryce Perry-Bolt, Kelly has been more consistent this season, stayed on the park more often and developed into the key. He kicked four goals again for the Lions on the weekend and will face a tough battle likely against Kurt Niklaus on Saturday.
5. Upsets do happen
Labrador’s reserves dished up a massive slice of humble pie to the Mornignside Panthers reserves on the weekend, with a major boilover in the major semi final. The win put the Tigers through to their first grand final in 18 years, and now the Panthers will go the hard way. A good reminder that any team can beat any other team on a given Saturday.