Roos to deliver
Saturday, 13th September, 2014
After a long hard summer and slog over the winter months it has come down to one last effort and a shot at glory.
Today it is arch rivals South and North vying for the grand prize the T.C. Gunn Cup and the title of premiers for 2014.
The Roos have been the dominate side for the best part of the season, playing a superior brand of footy which at times has left opposing sides flat footed and second rate.
After the week off the Roos will be primed for the challenge that lies ahead today.
In fact it has been four years in the making and driven by revenge and despair.
Today they face the Bulldogs who are chasing their fourth premiership in a row.
The will give a total commitment to achieve that goal, but will it be enough against this powerful South unit?
South will start as the clear favourites even though it is a different ball game to the home and away series.
However, form is a wonderful thing and they have plenty of that.
In their six outings against the Bulldogs in 2014 they have won on five occasions with an average winning margin of just over 77 points, while North’s only win came way back in round three by four points.
Along the way there have been some smashings, so the question remains; can they be beaten?
If they are to be beaten, the Bulldogs must rise to a level they haven’t achieved so far in 2014 and against a quality side it is very hard to do, not impossible just very hard.
The two keys for the Roos are up forward.
You have the city’s best forward in Cody Schorn and the league’s leading goal kicker in Todd Blacksell.
Between them they have 129 goals and when you throw into the mix Mitch Henderson (22), Dylan Browne (20) and Tyson Boland (18) it is a forward half with loads of scoring options.
The Bulldogs today will go with Dempster on Schorn and Napier will go to Blacksell.
That will leave Hack to go to Browne while Fenton could get Bird across half forward.
That will leave the Borlace brothers to take the resting smaller players.
If the Roos go that way, the Bulldog match ups will be crucial to today’s outcome.
And if the Roo forwards are to get on top, it will come from the midfield running players.
The city’s elite will all be in the middle from the opening bounce.
The minor premiers will start with the Mail Medalist Jordan Johns, Todd Shapter and Marc Purcell while the Bulldogs will start with the Lionel Johnston Medalist Jayden Kelly, Codie Howard and Brett Johnson.
All six will be dependent on the ruck work of Tom Billings for South and Nat Rayner for the Bulldogs.
Winning the footy from the middle will be no easy task.
It’s going to be tough in close with so much at stake.
Throughout the day players will rotate through the middle so neither side can afford a slip up on rotations as both sides are capable of making you pay for the slightest error.
The Roos today could use Michael Westley first up in a tagging role on Kelly with support coming from Todd Davidson during the course of the day.
North could go down the same path with Matt Garrick running with Johns, plenty of intrigue and high expectations from the midfield battles.
If the Bulldogs are to cause the upset of the century, their forward half must dominate the Roos back line, something they have struggled with all season.
In their six outings they have averaged just over eight goals a game and that will not win you a grand final against this Roos side.
The Bulldogs will need Kale Grundy to find some aggression and take the game by the scruff of the neck while Dalby has to just keep working hard and clunk some grabs.
If these two can hit the scoreboard then the Bulldogs have a show.
They will get support from Jedd Watson, who will play an important role today, and at ground level the likes of Morgan Billings and Henry Treloar have to be ready to pounce on any opportunity.
The Roos have the luxury of playing Dylan Browne in a number of roles but today he will start across half back on Dalby that will free up Kyle Barrie and Casey Paull to play on the last line while Riley Schorn and Marcus O’Brien will continue to give the Roos rebound and drive from the back half.
The North forwards must play a defensive role at times to stop the run of the South backmen.
If not, they will just add to their 2014 goal tally haul.
The Roos back half has been solid all year but the Bulldogs must break them if they are to win.
Also looking forward to the Jordan Staker and Quinton Beavan match up on the wing.
Both players work hard in close and they are prepared to run and carry the footy and both are proven big game players on the big stage.
It’s a Grand Final and everything is at stake and I expect both sides to have a solid hard crack at each contest.
I just feel the Bulldogs will give a red hot go early and be very competitive but once the game settles the Roos, with the style of play they have played all year, will eventually take control and run away with the game.
South could well win in a big way and want a little bit of redemption for the past few heartaches and that’s why they will be crowned premiers for 2014.
South by 50 points.