TAC Cup Preview – Finals Week 1

Updated: September 3, 2015
Charlie Curnow in action for the Geelong Falcons. Picture: BRIAN BARTLETT
Charlie Curnow has kicked nine goals in three games since returning from a dislocated knee. Picture: BRIAN BARTLETT

Charlie Curnow has kicked nine goals in three games since returning from a dislocated knee. Picture: BRIAN BARTLETT

THEY have conquered the top team twice already this season but Geelong Falcons coach Andy Allthorpe believes his side still has plenty of improvement ahead of their TAC Cup qualifying final clash against North Ballarat.

The neighboring country rivals meet at Carlton’s Princes Park on Saturday with the winner to earn a week off and a spot in the preliminary final.

The Falcons beat the Rebels by two points in their opening match of the season in Geelong and then by 40 points at Ballarat in Round 13.

Key defender Tom Doedee and leading AFL draft prospect Charlie Curnow didn’t play in the last encounter against the Rebels.

Doedee was rested last time, while Curnow has kicked nine goals in his three matches since returning from a dislocated knee, but can also play as an attacking midfielder complementing the likes of Rhys Mathieson, Darcy Parish, Harry Kershaw and Harrison Kol.

“It’s a new ball game finals, whatever opposition we got we knew it’s going to be a hot contest and we’re pretty familiar with North Ballarat,” Allthorpe said.

“Not only are we going to know a lot about them, they’re going to have learnt a lot about us as well so it’s going to be a typical encounter between Geelong and North Ballarat; really tight and competitive.

“It’s going to be a big challenge playing them in dry conditions because I think that suits their game style – they’re quick with the footy and get it moving well on a big ground. But our boys are buzzing – they’ve really been building for this (finals).”

Remarkably, it’s been more than a decade since the two clubs clashed in September and the Falcons lead 24-15 overall in head-to-head meetings since 1993.

Allthorpe said the Falcons head into their finals campaign – their 13th consecutive September appearance – with virtually a full list to choose from with the exception of Baden Remmos (knee), while ruckman Lochie Donne will be monitored after being concussed against Dandenong last Sunday.

“We really rate our group for its depth and quality and their ability to play different roles,” Allthorpe said.

“I don’t feel we’ve got a weak link on any line and we’re a pretty versatile side as well. I think the strength in our group is in some of the boys who aren’t playing.

“We’ve exposed enough boys to different roles to be able to handle the pressure of finals.”

Twitter: @GreenBradley

North Ballarat Rebels (1st) vs. Geelong Falcons (4th) @ Princes Park, Saturday 2.00pm


B Blood Rieniets Doedee
HB Witherden McNamara Sexton
C Augerinos Kershaw Dowling
HF Wagener Zdybel McCartney
F Curnow Blair Kol
R Darcy Mathieson Parish
Int Connors Bennett Sheahan
  McCarthy Biggs Elliot

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