Finals beckon for GRFL Blues

MURRABIT could guarantee a Golden Rivers Football League finals berth by defeating Hay tomorrow. 

The Blues currently sit in fourth place on the ladder; four points clear of the Lions and with just two round left in the home-and-away season, another four points tomorrow would seal the deal. 

Alternatively, a win to Hay could see the Lions swap places with the Blues but only if they are able to wipe out the 17 percentage point deficit. 

If Hay did win, the round 18 contests between the Lions and Ultima, and Wandella and Murrabit, would be crucial in shaping the final four. 

The Blues boast the better form, having strung together six consecutive victories after a patchy start to the season that included a 26 point loss to the Lions in round eight. 

Hay meanwhile is coming off a thumping at the hands of Nullawil, but has the distinguished record of only losing to the top three sides - Wandella, Ultima and the Maroons. 

Bryden Morison has again starred for the reigning premiers this season and will present plenty of headaches for the Lions. 

Nathan Henry has lead the way up forward for the Blues, booting 57 goals, while Justin McConnell has kicked 44 majors.

The Blues are heavily reliant on these two forwards and can be vulnerable if defenders shut them down, therefore much rides on the performances of Hay backmen such as Bill Auldist and Jock Crighton. 

At the other end of the ground the Lions have enjoyed a prosperous season, thanks largely to the efforts of Jackson Ferguson, who has booted 58 goals. 

It will be a tantalising contest, but playing at home and with so much on the line, the Blues should get the job done.

PREDICTION: Murrabit will win by 20 points. 

Marauding Maroons 

THE top-of-the-table clash in the Golden Rivers Football League tomorrow could serve as a preview of the grand final just four weeks away.

Competition leader Wandella and second-placed Nullawil are the form sides of the competition, having lost only two and three games respectively. 

One of the Bombers' losses came at the hands of the Maroons in round eight, going down by 18 points. 

The Bombers have been red-hot since then, recording comfortable wins over fellow finals contenders Ultima, Murrabit and Hay, while the Maroons have been almost as dominant, including a 114-point thumping of Hay last week. 

Both Wandella and Nullawil have dominated the competition thanks to their devastating attacking prowess, accruing more than 1800 points apiece to boast percentages of 224 and 245 respectively. 

Nullawil has shared the goal-kicking workload, with eight players having kicked at least 10 goals and Kallen Heslop leading the tally with 75 majors. 

Heslop and Andrew Oberdorfer (48 goals) will present major challenges for veteran Bombers Ryan Lancaster and Tim Robinson, who have so far been up to the task this season.

Wandella has also had plenty of avenues to goal, boasting 10 players to have kicked at least nine goals, with Sam Sperling (51) and Paul Grayling (45) doing most of the damage. 

A win to Wandella would see the Bombers remain at least one game clear atop the ladder, while a win to Nullawil would deliver the Maroons top spot. 

Both sides are in excellent form, but the home ground advantage could tip the scales in Nullawil's favour.

PREDICTION: Nullawil will win by 15 points. 

Roos on the hop 

ULTIMA could theoretically move into the top two tomorrow by recording a big win against Quambatook.

The Roos sit in third place behind Nullawil by percentage, so a loss to the Maroons would create an opening in second place, while the Bombers could drop to third if they lost and the Roos thrashed the Saints. 

With just two rounds of the home and away season left, the ladder is clearly far from settled. 

The Roos started their season in dominant fashion by beating all eight sides, before losing to Wandella, Nullawil and Murrabit within the space of a month. 

They have only played Wakool and Moulamein since then so haven't been tested, making the situation ripe for an upset by the Saints, who went down by 41 points in round eight. 

But Ultima's midfield polish, led by the likes of James Summerhayes, should be too much for the Saints, as should the side's scoring power spearheaded by Ryan Devereux and Arnold Kirby. 

The Saints have been competitive this season and have largely avoided crushing defeats thanks to the efforts of a gritty defensive unit led by Jack Baker, but at the other end of the ground they have struggled to kick competitive scores. 

Those factors combined should ensure the Roos record a comfortable win at home and remain firmly entrenched in the top four.

PREDICTION: Ultima will win by 50 points. 

No mercy for Hawks

MOULAMEIN will be aiming to build momentum for season 2018 by finishing this year with a rampaging win against Wakool.

The Swans have the bye in round 18, so tomorrow is their last chance to add to their tally of three wins – one which came by 158 points against Wakool in round eight and the remaining two against cellar-dweller Macorna. 

After suffering some heavy losses throughout the season, the Swans almost upset Murrabit in round 15 and performed respectably against Ultima last week. 

Tom Isma has been a shining light in the midfield for the Swans, along with the likes of Ethan Saville, while Patrick Caldwell and Xavia Elford have done most of the work in front of goal. 

The Hawks have no prospect of adding to their solitary win for the season, which came against Macorna in round three when the player list was stronger.

They have lost 10 games by more than 150 points this season and last week managed only eight points against Ultima. 

Despite the poor results on-field, the club deserves credit for getting a team back out on the ground after spending 2016 in recess. 

PREDICTION: Moulamein will win by 150 points.

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