Cutthroat finals becoming norm for foes

September 07, 2017

Avenel forward Andrew Green shifted into defence with great effect in last Sunday's stirring elimination final against Tallygaroopna.

Stanhope and Avenel are used to be playing each other at this time of the year.

The Kyabram District Football League combatants will clash in the finals for the third straight season when they meet at Girgarre on Sunday.

The ledger is squared at one-all, with the Lions winning their first semi-final in 2015, while the Swans progressed to last year’s decider when they comfortably won the preliminary final.

The teams also split their two games during the home-and-away season, with Stanhope coach Brenton Gray well aware of how tough it will be again.

Avenel’s midfield of Paul Arandt, coach Don Stirling and Michael Morgan got the Swans over the line last Sunday with a thrilling five-point win against Tallygaroopna.

‘‘I think we have to nullify those guys a bit and we won’t go too drastic on it and we’ll back our guys in,’’ Gray said.

‘‘We’ll be tight on them around the stoppages, but we’ll make sure we can score as well.’’

Stanhope is coming off a crushing 78-point victory against Lancaster in last Saturday’s elimination final, with James Gray dominating up forward with six goals.

The Lions have contributors across the board, with Jack Young, Stuart Trevena, Tom Hepburn and Alec Young firing.

But Gray said his side would be sweating on the fitness of two players and the team would be finalised after tomorrow night’s training session.

While the Lions are coming off a canter, Avenel enters this match after getting out of jail against the Redlegs.

They were cruising at half-time when they led by 43 points, but found themselves 15 points down with not long to go.

But the efforts of Arandt, along with Andrew Green switching down back, spurred on the Swans to boot the last three goals of the game to pinch a famous five-point win.

Key forward Chris Burton always looms large and was able to slot four goals, despite not having his best game.

Lions forward Jack Exell has gone back in recent weeks and Stanhope won’t have any shortage of options to go to Burton.

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