Expect a cracker
Saturday, 21st September, 2019
By Callum Marshall
West and St Joes will battle it out in the A Grade grand final today in what should be an absolute cracker of a match.
With both sides beating each other twice in the regular season and drawing their other game, expect a tight, skilful game where accurate long ball passing, quick counters, solid defending and neat play in the midfield should feature.
West, the reigning champions, could point out their 3-2 win over St Joes in the Knockout Cup final this year as an extra boost for today’s game but, overall, the two sides have been evenly matched across most of their games.
The only significant winning margin between the two sides this year was a 5-0 thumping St Joes handed out to the Panthers in round 6, but that was against a West side missing a lot of key players.
As for today’s match, two players to watch out for will be the sides key forwards: Jordan Cox for the Panthers and Daniel Rose for St Joes.
Cox scored an incredible 24 goals across 15 regular season games and Rose scored 9, with the St Joes player also assisting his teammates well on a number of different occasions.
Overall though, both sides have quality across the park, a point both captains acknowledged in the lead up to today’s game.
When asked what opposition players impressed, Panthers captain Zane Kemp said “all 11 of them”.
“Their goalkeeper is great, good hands,” he said.
“(Also) Matt Muscat, depending on where he plays. If he plays in the backline like he did against Celtic he’d be hard to beat.
“Throw the likes of Pat Nash in the middle or even Jyh (Stubing) in the backline, (and) they’re three players you’ve got to watch from the start.
“(But) we’ve got 16 that they’ve got to watch. Even the goalkeeper, you can’t take it away from the whole team.
“We’ve got the team that can win a final, it all comes down to on the day.
“And I’m not taking nothing away from St Joes either, they’ve got a brilliant team. And even if it was Celtic, they had a brilliant team as well.
“We’ve got to keep our mind on the game, and (the) first to settle will win it.”
“West have got a great team,” said St Joes captain Dave O’Mally.
“They’ve set the standard being the top team all season so it’s just a matter of on the day everyone picking up their player they’re responsible for and doing their duty.”
Kemp added that the likes of Terry Delbridge, who’s come back to the Panthers from Alma this season, was a big addition to the side, and that Shane Hayward and Madden Paul had also had great seasons, while O’Mally said the additions of Rose and Ross Casey had been really good for St Joes this season.
Both captains said their team’s seasons had gone well and that their strongest side would be out for today’s final.
“This season has been up and down with players doing a lot of shift work now,” said Zane.
“Myself and Madden (Paul) have gone and played footy this year, so weeks here and there we haven’t always had the full team.
“And this year, even with the Knockout Cup in the middle of the season, we still haven’t put a full team on the park.
“(But) this weekend is going to be our team. We’ve got a couple of extra numbers now so it’s worked out well from other years.
“I think overall we’ve played pretty well,” said Dave.
“I think we’ve been reasonably consistent over the season and done pretty well overall.
“We did manage to get one or two wins against West, which will give us a bit of a confidence boost coming into the final.
“(And) all 11 players on the pitch (for us), plus the subs, can play and are of a great standard. That’s why we’re in the A grade team.
“(So) I think everyone will put in on the day and give 100 per cent.”
WHAT: Men’s A Grade Soccer Grand Final
WHEN: 4pm today
WHERE: Broken Hill Soccer Grounds