TAC Cup Preview – Semi Finals

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Updated: September 10, 2015
Lockie McCartney looks for an option in last week;s qualifying final loss to North Ballarat Rebels. Picture: BRIAN BARTLETT
Lockie McCartney looks for an option in last week;s qualifying final loss to North Ballarat Rebels. Picture: BRIAN BARTLETT

Lockie McCartney looks for an option in last week;s qualifying final loss to North Ballarat Rebels. Picture: BRIAN BARTLETT

CONTESTED footy – that’s the theme for the Geelong Falcons ahead of Sunday’s knockout TAC Cup semi-final against the Eastern Ranges at Carlton’s Princes Park.

The Falcons are out to avoid a straight sets exit from the finals for the second straight season, having lost to North Ballarat in a high-quality qualifying final last weekend.

They’ve faced the Ranges twice this season – losing by 40 points at Geelong in Round 8 before producing a stirring final quarter fightback to draw their Round 14 contest at Box Hill.

Falcons coach Andy Allthorpe knows it will be crucial for his players to match the Ranges’ hardness around the contest if they’re to advance to a preliminary final showdown against Dandenong Stingrays next week.

He’s backing the likes of Rhys Mathieson, Harry Kershaw, Nick Connors and Darcy Parish around the stoppages against Eastern’s midfield, led by prolific ball winner Ryan Clarke, as they did in their previous encounter.

“Our real hard nuts around the stoppages got their hands on the ball and got it moving our way so that will be really important this week,” Allthorpe said.

“Eastern are a really strong, physical, aggressive side so we really need to match them in there and get the ball on the outside and use some of our speed to try and get the ball moving quickly to our forwards.

“We’re just getting better results from our stoppages. A month ago we were just getting the ball and bombing it. Now we’re winning better quality clearances and giving good chances to our forwards like Blairy (Brett Blair) and Charlie (Curnow).”

Big man Lochie Donne has been ruled out again this week as he’s still suffering the effects of concussion, meaning Zach Zdybel and Hayden Elliott will share the ruck duties.

Shutting down Eastern’s dangerous forward Blake Hardwick, who has booted 49 goals from 13 matches this season, will also be crucial to the final result.

Hardwick kicked a bag of 10 goals against the Falcons earlier in the year and also had a haul of 12 leading into the finals. Tom Doedee is set to be given that task against the competition’s elusive 182cm leading goalkicker.

The 2013 preliminary final was the last time the Falcons met Eastern in September.

Allthorpe said the playing group had been positive all week and were eager to make amends for their two-goal loss to the Rebels last Saturday after leading for the majority of the match.

“Their attitude was super when they all rocked in Monday. They were ready to go, we had a quick review of a couple of areas from that game and then we trained really well Tuesday night,” Allthorpe said.

“The boys were up and about and it was a high standard session. We only trained for 60 minutes, but the quality was as good as we’ve trained for in a long time so the boys are very eager to turn things around.

“We’ve got a point to prove – we know that our best is as good as anyone but we’ve got to maintain that for four quarters.”

Following Sunday’s semi finals the TAC Cup will hold its Morrish Medal count and announce the Team of the Year.

Allthorpe believes Mathieson, Kershaw, Parish and Harrison Kol shape as the Falcons’ leading contenders.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

Geelong Falcons (4th) vs. Eastern Ranges (5th) @ Princes Park – Carlton, Sunday 2.00pm

GEELONG FALCONS

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


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