Finals fever sweeps the Central West
The AFL Central West finals are upon us starting with the Senior Minor Semi Finals on Saturday. The Juniors’ follow on Sunday with the Preliminary finals as three become two for next weekend’s Grand Finals. Following a third place finish in the Men’s competition, the Bathurst Giants host Saturday’s matches. The Giants have junior Grand Final hosting rights and as such, we head to Waratah’s for Sunday’s matches.
Women’s Minor Semi Final:
Orange Tigers vs Cowra Blues – Saturday, August 17, 12:30pm GP1
One team’s season ends on Saturday as the Tigers take on the Blues. Cowra have fought it out with Parkes for the final place in the top four all season and won’t give up easily whilst the Tigers were unlucky to miss out on a top 2 spot following some late defeats to the Giants in consecutive weekends. Something special from the Navy Blues will be required to topple the Tigers and Captain-Coach Sarah Day will need to play a starring role for this to happen. With the likes of Erin Naden, Jemma Neuman and a host of other representative players, the Tigers will go in as favourites and supremely confident of moving into a Preliminary Final.
Cowra Blues 0.3-3 def by Orange Tigers 15.17-107 (Mulyan Oval), Round 2
Orange Tigers 8.8-56 def Cowra Blues 0.0-0 (GP1), Round 13 (Gala Day)
Orange Tigers 10.18-78 def Cowra Blues 0.0-0 (Waratah’s), Round 7
Men’s Minor Semi Final
Bathurst Giants vs Dubbo Demons – Saturday, August 17, 2:30pm GP1
Another season under the belt of many Bathurst Giants youngsters and they find themselves in familiar territory to that of twelve months ago, a home elimination final. The hosts have had a regular season to be content with, including seven victories and on home soil should go into this contest as favourites. They reached a Preliminary Final last year and have a side capable of going further this year. Paul Jenkins has led the club admirably again in 2019 leading the goalkicking and being among the club’s best each week.
Dubbo have seen a marked improvement on the road this season. Competitive twice from three trips to Bathurst and falling short of the Tigers in a thriller. As a result, these two sides come across as evenly matched on paper so expect a high-quality final. Bevan Charlton-White will be the player to stop although its yet to be seen if that is even possible and therefore stopping the supporting cast of Conor MacDonald, Joseph Hedger, and Tom Budd could be the key to success for the Giants.
Dubbo Demons 11.9-75 def Bathurst Giants 9.12-66 (South Dubbo Oval), Round 4
Bathurst Giants 13.13-91 def Dubbo Demons 6.3-39 (GP1), Round 10
Under-12s Preliminary Final
Cowra Blues vs Orange Tigers – Sunday, August 18, 9:30am Waratah’s Oval
The Under-12s could well be the match of the weekend with the two sides having played out two brilliant matches this season. Each side is full of super talents with Harvey Shepherd, Thomas McRae, and Charlie Hunter (Orange) up against Aaron Hall, Mason Bright, and Cameron Murray (Cowra). The Baby Blues – as they are affectionately known – have been strong in this age group for several years now, only being topped in 2019 by the returning Dubbo Juniors.
Whilst Cowra may have greater talent across the field, Orange are fielding almost twice as many players and the extra rotations could play a part considering the even-up rule is not enforced in finals. If a favourite has to be selected, Cowra come into this contest as the only team to defeat minor premiers Dubbo and this should be enough of an indicator to tip the visitors in the first game of the day.
Orange Tigers 4.2-26 def by Cowra Blues 4.9-33 (GP 1), Round 2
Cowra Blues 8.5-53 def Orange Tigers 6.7-43 (Mulyan Oval), Round 7
Orange Tigers 1.1-7 def by Cowra Blues 11.4-70 (Waratah’s Oval), Round 10
Under-14s Preliminary Final
Cowra Blues vs Bathurst Giants – Sunday, August 18, 11am Waratah’s Oval
Similarly to their Under-12s club-mates, the Cowra Blues finished one win shy of a minor premiership and go into their Preliminary Final as favourites. Both sides also look set to load up their squads with Youth Girls eligible players as neither team play this weekend.
The Blues have won both meetings against the Giants in 2019, comprehensively in ROund 1 although the Giants made the Blues fight in their Round 6 encounter. The Giants can be competitive, but they require the best out of stars Mac Hutchings, Lachlan Micalos, and Will Sloan. Cowra meanwhile boast some of the best Youth Girls and Under 14s talent with Maiah Bright, Jake Roberts and Braydon Hyland.
Cowra Blues 13.10-88 def Bathurst Giants 1.0-6 (Mulyan Oval), Round 1
Bathurst Giants 5.3-33 def by Cowra Blues 9.14-68 (GP1), Round 6
Youth Girls Preliminary Final:
Orange Tigers vs Bathurst Bushrangers – Sunday, August 18, 12:30pm, Waratah’s Oval
For the second straight season the Bathurst Giants are Youth Girls Minor Premiers and the Tigers will have to win through a Preliminary Final – just like they did in 2018 – to take the trophy. The slick moving Tigers take on a Bushrangers side that play tough, aggressive football. An encouraging sign for the Bushrangers, Jade Leven has made a successful return from her Shoalhaven injury and provides experience and talent to assist her team. This however, won’t offset the depth of talent the Tigers have with six members having played representative football in 2019. Elizabeth Gibson controls their side whilst Anna Macpherson should provide first use of the ball for her Tigers teammates.
Bathurst Bushrangers 2.3-15 def by Orange Tigers 11.6-72 (GP2), Round 1
Bathurst Bushrangers 1.1-7 def by Orange Tigers 7.5-47 (GP2), Round 4
Note: All Senior Finals have a gate fee to enter, the Bathurst Giants are charging all patrons over 17 years of age $5 this Saturday to attend. Junior Finals are free of charge.
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