Gulls and Tigers in historic GF clash
FOUNDATION clubs Barwon Heads and Torquay will meet for the first time in a BFL senior grand final when they clash in the 2019 decider at McCartney Oval.
The Seagulls will contest consecutive grand finals for the first time since completing the BFL’s first hat-trick of premierships in 1974.
Despite starting last year’s decider as the overwhelming favourite, Barwon Heads was no match for Modewarre in suffering a 47-point loss.
However, vice-captain Ned Aulsebrook says last year’s result isn’t being used as motivation.
“It’s not something we’ve talked about as a group or a club,” he said.
“There’s probably 10 or 11 blokes in the side at the moment that weren’t in the side last year.
“So it’s not like it’s the same team. Personally, for me, it was my first grand final last year, and there are a few blokes that are similar, and we will be better for the experience.”
The Seagulls enter the grand final having won 10 of 11 matches since the halfway mark of the home-and-away season.
They were too good for Torquay in the qualifying final by 35 points before earning a week off by blowing away minor premier Geelong Amateur to the tune of 89 points in the second semi-final.
During the home and away season, the sides each enjoyed a win at home against each other by roughly the same margin of about four goals.
Aulsebrook says the performance against the Tigers will provide Barwon Heads with a level of confidence heading into the match.
“I don’t think it will come to the forefront of mind as far as impacting this contest,” he said.
“I think it’s just more confidence in the way we want to play our game. We know it works, we know what we need to do on Saturday.”
After being forced to take the long way to the grand final following the qualifying final loss, Torquay has overcome Anglesea and Geelong Amateur in consecutive weeks to reach its second grand final in three years.
Captain Ben Raidme, who missed the 2017 premiership win due to injury, says on the back of the qualifying final result, the Tigers will be underdogs.
“It’d be interesting to see what everyone’s predictions are,” he said. “They beat us in the first final. Then we watched them dismantle Geelong Amateur last week. They’re playing a really good brand of football at the right time of year. It’s a credit to them. They’ve been able to back up last year’s grand final appearance and get back in to have a crack again.
“I’d like to say we’re the underdogs. I think everyone likes to say they’re the underdogs to put the pressure on the opposition. Their recent form’s been really, really good.”
Torquay is likely to make one change to the team that defeated Ammos, with Team of the Year forward Paul McMahon to return from a minor arm injury.
That means coach Dom Gleeson will have a tough selection call to make.
“It’s an unfortunate and fortunate position to be in,” Raidme said. “I think at the start of the year if you put the scenario to us, we would have said, “yeah, awesome”. But now that it’s upon us, it’s challenging. And there’s probably going to be someone very unlucky that’s, unfortunately, going to miss out at the expense of Paul McMahon coming back in.”
Barwon Heads has a tough selection call to make. Popular defender Dylan Holland is pushing for inclusion despite not playing at senior level since dislocating his shoulder in Round 11.
“He’s been training very well; he was full training last week and on Saturday,” Aulsebrook said.
“I assume – I’m not across it – but I assume he is going to make himself available for the weekend. But that’s up to the coaches and selectors if they decide to bring him in.”
Round 2: Barwon Heads 12.17 (89) def. Torquay 9.9 (63) @ Howard Harmer Oval
Round 9: Torquay 14.19 (103) def. Barwon Heads 11.13 (79) @ McCartney Oval
Qualifying Final: Barwon Heads 10.17 (77) def. Torquay 6.6 (42) @ Portarlington Recreation Reserve
Prediction: Barwon Heads by 22 points