By Trevor Jackson
FINALS fever in the Limestone Coast steps up another level this week as the Western Border Football League heads into its post-season.
A double-header is set down for Saturday and Sunday to ensure the shortened COVID-affected season has the best chance of being completed.
Saturday will see the two top A Grade sides in South Gambier and Millicent face off at Vansittart Park.
The action then moves to Millicent on Sunday for the clash between East Gambier and North Gambier.
Going on season performances, it is almost impossible to pick the outcome of either game.
SECOND SEMI-FINAL – SOUTH GAMBIER v MILLICENT AT VANSITTART PARK
The Demons would surely start as favourites in this clash, having been close to untouchable all season.
However, the Saints have certainly hit their straps in the latter half of the season and are up to the task.
The first time the two sides faced off in the minor rounds was way back in Round 1, where the Demons were winners to the tune of 58 points.
South also won the second clash, but by just 17 points as Saints spearhead Gene Robinson kicked a lazy seven of Millicent’s 13 goals.
In the third clash Robinson kicked just five goals, but the Saints were victorious to the tune of 78 points.
Millicent then went on to finish the minor season in style, with big wins over West Gambier and North Gambier, before a hard-fought but comfortable 24-point victory over East Gambier in the final minor-round clash.
The Saints lost just five of 15 games for the season.
South has enjoyed a stellar season, with just two losses from 14 outings.
The Demons final minor-round clash with Casterton Sandford was called off sue to the coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, giving South a week off to prepare.
That may or may not have a positive affect on this week’s performance.
Is it better to keep playing or to have that week off at a crucial time of the season?
Time will tell.
Either way, the Demons certainly deserve to start as favourites after such a strong season.
The last game South played saw a big defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs and the Demons would certainly chalk that one up to experience.
South certainly has the firepower up forward providing all are fit, with the likes of Kym Eagleson and the returning Brodie Foster joining coach Brayden Kain in the attacking 50.
Foster has looked good after his return and will be keen to record a few majors.
Add to that list a plethora of youngsters and experienced heads and it is easy to see why the Demons have had such a strong season.
With the momentum the Saints currently have it is hard to tip against them, but discount South at your peril.
Either way this should be an entertaining contest to see who books that first grand final berth.
FIRST SEMI-FINAL – EAST GAMBIER v NORTH GAMBIER AT MCLAUGHLIN PARK
Again this is a tough game to pick a winner.
Both sides have been average all season but ensured they were ready for post-season action in a disrupted year of football.
The Bulldogs were fighting for that coveted second position on the ladder until the final minor round where they succumbed to Millicent.
In contrast North just managed to stay clear of West for fourth spot and a finals campaign.
Last time the two sides met the Bulldogs were easy victors to the tune of 79 points.
Both other outings the Bulldogs were also victorious, suggesting they have the wood on the Tigers this year.
How that plays out in a finals scenario is anyone’s guess.
The Tigers could be undermanned, while the Bulldogs look strong.
Matt Scanlon has been a welcome inclusion in his return to the club after a short uneventful stint in the Mid South East competition.
He has provided the strong focus needed up forward to help bring others into the game.
North’s hopes may hinge on coach Justin McConnell up forward, who can certainly light up a scoreboard.
However, East should claim the win and advance to the next round in what will be another entertaining contest.