Preliminary Final showdown at Waratah’s
The final elimination round of 2019 is upon us with the Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s Preliminary Finals. Waratah’s, Orange plays host to the penultimate round including teams from Orange, Bushrangers and Giants. For the Women’s, the winner meets Bathurst Giants, whilst the Men’s winner will be greeted by the Bushrangers Rebels.
Senior Women’s Preliminary Final
Bathurst Bushrangers vs Orange Tigers – Waratah’s Sports Ground, 12:30pm
The Orange Tigers kicked off their finals campaign with an impressive 74-point victory over the Cowra Blues. Having taken plenty of confidence from that result, the Tigers will be hungry to get the first of their two senior sides into the Grand Final. The home crowd will help, however their opponents have missed only one Grand Final in four seasons and won’t want to add to that. The Bushrangers were far from disgraced in last week’s loss to the Giants, leading at half time before fading late. Although tied on wins for the season, the visitors have scored more points and conceded fewer than their Tigers opponents.
As always, the key players for each side will need to be strong, for the Tigers, this includes stars Erin Naden and Jemma Neuman. Neuman slammed home 6 majors in the Tigers elimination final in one of the performances of the season. Donalee Delahunty and Bethanie Durham continue to impress for the visitors, whilst Alora Dickson added to her team-high 18 goals.
Bathurst Bushrangers 2.6-18 def by Orange Tigers 5.4-34 – George Park #2, Round 5
Bathurst Bushranger s8.8-56 def Orange Tigers 1.2-8 – George Park #1, Round 9
This will be the two sides’ first encounter for the season at Waratah’s and on the wide-open spaces of Orange’s home a low scoring encounter could occur. Expect a high quality showcase of Women’s football and a great excuse to pay the $5 entry fee to view both matches.
Senior Men’s Preliminary Final
Orange Tigers vs Bathurst Giants – Waratah’s Sports Ground, 2:30pm
The Tigers weren’t at their best against the Bushrangers Rebels and will be keen to make amends at home. The Giants however, were clinical after half-time against Dubbo in their elimination final. Both teams are incredibly strong on paper and deserving of a place in the Grand Final. The Giants have been a high scoring team all season and similar to last week’s Rebels vs Tigers contest, if it becomes a shootout, they will have the Tigers’ measure. Only twice in 2019 have the Tigers conceded more than 10 goals, both in the past month so if there is ever a time to strike, it will be on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Giants have kicked at least 10 goals in six of the past seven.
Everyone at the ground will be aware that Paul Jenkins must be stopped for the Tigers to compete whilst the Giants will look to clean ball movement from their back-half and plenty of run from youngsters Reilly Mitchell and Nic Broes in addition to Jenkins. For the Tigers, defence is key. The side allowed too many defensive-50 entries in the loss to the Rebels and their defence, battled manfully, yet weight of numbers proved to be too great. Should the Tigers slow the entries, their defence will have an easier task and could grind out a result.
Orange Tigers 3.5-23 def by Bathurst Giants 8.6-54 – Waratah’s, Round 5
Bathurst Giants 10.7-67 def Orange Tigers 7.11-53 – George Park #1, Round 12
Two wins from two for the Giants in 2019 could give the visitors the edge in what will be a see-sawing contest. The Giants are searching for their first Senior Men’s Grand Final appearance after falling to the same side, at the same point of the season in 2018. The hosts are proven finals performers having played in all bar one Grand Final since 2013. They know what it takes to win these matches and although their preference would have been direct passage to the Grand Final, they are more than capable of winning tough matches when the pressure is on.
Preliminary Final action kicks-off at 12:30 with the Women’s final. There will be a $5 entry fee at the gate.
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