Mundulla will enter Saturday’s KNTFL A grade final as hot favourites, but the Moots had better not underestimate their Lucindale opponents.
The path that the two sides have taken to the big one couldn’t be more different. Mundulla has played just once in five weeks – an emphatic win over Penola in the second semi-final – so the Moots will be well rested.
On the other hand, Lucindale hasn’t had a rest since a July 8 bye, meaning the Roos have played the last nine weeks straight. But the Roos have won their last five against some quality opposition, including three knockout finals in a row, and winning form is good form.
The strengths of the two teams are also very different. Mundulla has fabulous depth right through its top 21, with several reserves players also capable of stepping straight in if needed. But they won’t be needed, as the Moots are pretty much at full strength.
Lucindale on the other hand has a brilliant top end – probably the best in the league. After battling injuries, they now have a full list apart from ruckman Mark Snowball, so the likes of midfielders Ryan McInerney, Scott Spriggs, Nick Cane and Tom Logan will be up and about, along with a forward line boasting Sam Graetz, Aaron Smart and Sam Mardling, and a defence led by star rebounder Tim Mackenzie.
What do the two senior coaches think? Read their comments here
Mundulla won the second semi-final because they deprived Penola of the ball. They will aim to do so again, with ruckman Jason Milligan leading the way and Tim McIntyre, Grady Obst, Jake McGrice, Sam Luckett and Will Nankivell at his feet.
Up forward, James Hinge is a great marking target and Duncan Ogilvie or veteran Nathan Clarke will have their hands full with him, while the job of stopping goalsneak Jamie Grosser might go to Roo Daniel McCarthy.
Mundulla also gets great rebound from defenders like Matt Schilling and Heath Thorpe, with runners Devon Ridgway and Nick Davis helping out.
There will be great match-ups all over the ground and Lucindale’s stars will surely win some of their positions, but Mundulla might possibly come out on top with its overall depth and its flexibility.
In the RESERVES, Mundulla is unbeaten this year and will be rested and very tough for Penola to knock off. Reigning premier Penola has finals experience but Mundulla has been a cut above this year and will take well-deserved favouritism into the game.
Penola is likely to be strengthened by the inclusion of last year’s best on ground medallist Jon Copping after the Eagles’ A grade were knocked out last week, and they have plenty of other top reserves players in their ranks as well including last year’s joint league medallist Simon Zadow.
But Mundulla has tremendous senior depth this year and has had the luxury of running fit players up and down through the A grade and reserves depending on form this season.
Players like Jarred and Charlie Wiese, Darcy King and Sam Lewin spent time in the A grade early in the year, but find themselves running out in the early game this Saturday.
That depth along with the experience of coach and ruckman Brett Lehmann, Tyne Excell, Brad Milligan and Craig Wiese, along with the young talent of key forwards Jonte Dolling and Daniel Burgess, should see the Moots home.
In the SENIOR COLTS, the Kaniva/Leeor United boys will try to win their club’s first ever flag in any grade since merging in 1997. They will have a tough task against a Keith side which is at full strength and has come from the elimination final.
KLU have been brilliant late in the year with a lot of their players gaining experience through the season in A grade, so the likes of Sam Williams-Bale, Kayne Councillor, Jock Maddern and Dylan Natt won’t be overawed by the finals stage.
Keith has the league medallist Will Schreiber and his brother Seb, who has been one of the standout players of the finals series, as well as Gus and Zac Driver, Mitch Malthouse and Will McMurray. The Crows look the real deal after winning three finals to get here, and they could actually go in as favourites despite coming from fourth spot.
In the JUNIOR COLTS, Kybybolite will be playing its third straight grand final but looking for its first win since four flags in a row ended in 2005. Kingston beat Kyby in last year’s grand final and will be looking to repeat the dose.
Kyby will rely on ruckman Jack Armfield to quell the influence of big Saint Will Wieseman, while the Tigers’ other key players might be Harry McInnes, Darcy Ewer, Lachie Burtt and Weston Rata.
Kingston has this year’s league medallist Will Watts and his brother Campbell, Jack Tapfield, Ethan Murdock and big Jack Harding as the main playmakers.
Kyby hasn’t won the junior colts premiership since the last of a run of four in a row in 2005, but the Tigers have been untouchable in an undefeated year this year, and they will be the hottest of favourites to win their first flag in this grade in 12 years.
Match times at Frances:
9.00am - Junior Colts - Kybybolite v Kingston
10.20am - Senior Colts - KLU v Keith
12 noon - Reserves - Mundulla v Penola
2.20pm - A grade - Kybybolite v Penola
What about the netball?
A grade netball preview here
Netball match times:
9.15am – 15 & Under A – Bordertown v Naracoorte
10.30am – 17 & Under – Penola v Kingston
10.30am – 13 & Under A – Naracoorte v Penola
12.000noon – B Grade – Keith v Lucindale
12.00noon – 15 & Under B – Naracoorte v Bordertown
1.30pm – A Reserves – Keith v Lucindale
1.30pm – C Grade – Mundulla v Penola
3.00pm – A Grade – Lucindale v Keith