GDFL Preview – Finals Week 1

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Updated: August 20, 2015
Bannockburn spearhead Tom Mullane-Grant will be a key in the Tigers' elimination final clash with Belmont Lions Picture: VICKI KING
Bannockburn spearhead Tom Mullane-Grant will be a key in the Tigers' elimination final clash with Belmont Lions Picture: VICKI KING

Bannockburn spearhead Tom Mullane-Grant will be a key in the Tigers’ elimination final clash with Belmont Lions Picture: VICKI KING

GDFL Teams

Qualifying Final

North Geelong (2nd) vs. Inverleigh (3rd) @ The Gordon TAFE Oval – St Albans Reserve, Saturday 2.10pm

A mouth-watering match-up between two teams who have met just once in 2015. On that day back in Round 11, North Geelong made the most of a fast start to claim a 21-point win and end Inverleigh’s 10-match unbeaten start to the season. The Magpies enter the qualifying final on a nine-game winning streak, while the Hawks have won four-in-a-row since surrendering top spot to Bell Post Hill in Round 14. Both teams have the ability to kick big scores. North Geelong averaged 147 points a game during the home-and-away season, while Inverleigh averaged 134. Much of the Magpies forward success has been the result of Jamie Pitman’s stunning second half of the season. He kicked 79 goals in nine games after being held goalless by the Panthers in Round 9. He was also restricted to just one goal despite North Geelong’s win over Inverleigh. While the focus up forward for the Magpies has rightly been on Pitman, the Hawks have shared the goal-kicking load. Six players have kicked 25 goals or more. Dalton Grundell is best with 52. However, the focus in the back end of the season has been on Michael Allan. He has kicked 22 goals in the last three weeks, including 12 against Corio. Star midfielder Blake Hutchinson, who returned after five weeks out last week, looks set to miss.

Prediction: North Geelong by 19 points

Elimination Final

Belmont Lions (4th) vs. Bannockburn (5th) @ The Gordon TAFE Oval – St Albans Reserve, Saturday 2.10pm

Does Belmont Lions’ 40-point win over Bannockburn last week mean anything? Both teams went into the clash down on personnel with some key names to return on Sunday. The Lions will be boosted by the return of quality defender Brad MacKenzie and small man Heath Walsh, while star forward Michael Leamer will be given every chance to prove his fitness as he attempts to overcome a shoulder issue. The Tigers will welcome back defender Zach Hickleton, Brett Harding and Chris Rieck. Hickleton’s return is vital, with the Lions’ forward line one of the most potent in the GDFL. Even if Leamer doesn’t play, Eugene Stanciu, Ben Grinter, Josh Blair and Ben Vardy all have the ability to kick bags of goals. At the other end of the ground, Tom Mullane-Grant has been Bannockburn’s lynch-pin. However, he has been held to just eight goals in the last four weeks, including two against the Lions. Playing just his first game of the season in Round 18, Zane Carroll kicked three goals last week. When the two teams met back in Round 7, Bannockburn came out on top by five points after Belmont Lions kicked 5.17 after quarter time.

Prediction: Belmont Lions by 12 points.

Twitter: @tom_king79



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