It only needs to be fine for one day of the year, SWFL Grand Final day, but it appears that won’t be the case tomorrow, with heavy afternoon rain forecast. Who will this favour, and who will stand up for the most important game of the year, when Harvey Brunswick Leschenault and Bunbury play off in the 2017 Dale Alcock Homes, SWFL Grand Final.
The Lions have been impressive in their two finals games, storming home in the last quarter to over-run the Collie Eagles in Collie by six goals, and then replicating the margin a week later against Bunbury and PC Payne Park.
Bunbury meanwhile, had that loss to Harvey Brunswick Leschenault in the second semi final and then last weekend had to survive a heart-stopper against Harvey Bulls in the Preliminary Final, on their road to the Grand Final.
The two teams have only ever met twice before in Grand Finals, and if that is any guide Bunbury will win, having previously won both encounters, but they were in 1982 and 1961.
Bunbury have the benefit of having played on Hands Oval last weekend, while for Harvey Brunswick Leschenault, they haven’t played at the venue since round four in a twilight fixture.
Usually though with Grand Finals, you can throw the form guide out the window, as it is the final contest, the ultimate contest of the season.
It is often said that reputations are made and destroyed in the heat of a Grand Final.
The Lions have certainly been strengthened with the return of Kristin Thornton, James Hawkesly and Ryan McKinlay, who have added experience and size to their line-up. Add in Tom Quaife to their back half and the Lions regain quality in their key positions.
An interesting match-up is that with Bunbury’s Matt Martin against Quaife. Martin, the SWFL most prolific Goal Kicker in the last fifteen years, has had trouble kicking a bag of goals on Quaife, but having said that, if Martin gets an early goal, his confidence sky rockets and is then hard to stop.
The Bulldogs will be focusing on negating Thornton and youngster, Dylan Heasman, who between them have kicked 14 goals between them in two finals.
More than likely Jordan Falco will match up on Heasman at some point, while long time defender Codey Hay will find his way to Thornton.
Both teams have quality big men in their side, but with a wet Grand Final forecast, will their strengths be less prominent as a result, only time will tell.
The Lions will definitely need to watch the elusive Brett Peake, who has kicked some of the goals of the season, and Peake needs only a handful of possessions or five minutes of brilliance to turn a match.
All will be revealed commencing at 2.30pm tomorrow afternoon.
Gates open at 7.00am with the Colts Grand Final commencing at 9.15am and the Reserves Grand Final at 11.45am.