HISTORY will be made today in the Greenham NTFL finals series when Wynyard and Penguin play off for a spot in the grand final.
In the 26-year existence of the competition, the two teams have never met in a finals game – an extraordinary statistic given both clubs were foundation members of the league since 1987.
Both teams have shown a fondness for kicking plenty of goals this season thanks to strong marking forwards and quality supply through their respective midfields.
However, with recent heavy rain hitting the Coast and strong winds forecast today, both coaches predicted a more low- scoring affair at Girdlestone Park.
“With 50kmh winds blowing, I predict it will be an ugly game and the winner will be whoever wants to work hardest for the two hours,” Wynyard coach Shannon Bakes said.
“Whoever uses the breeze first will have to use it well or they’ll be behind the eight ball from the outset.”
His counterpart Jason Ling, however, tipped a slightly more open affair on the bigger ground.
“I think it will be pretty free flowing game, not so much early, but later on in the game,” he said.
“It won’t be as high scoring as our previous games, but with lots of one-on-one contests, clearances from stoppages will be the key.”
Bakes will be looking to different forward set-up to help counteract the tricky conditions.
“We’ll probably go with a smaller forward line today in the conditions, which will then allow Gregg Sharman to go to Justin Cotton straight away,” he said.
Over the course of the season the teams have met four times, with Wynyard easily accounting for Penguin in their two encounters at home by an average margin of 67 points.
The Two Blues turned the tables in their round eight clash, winning by 32 points, but it is the final encounter in round 18 which resulted in a draw that sets the scene for an enthralling battle today.
Wynyard forward Nick Hall marks in front of Latrobe’s Kurt Hanson during the Cats’ heartbreaking semi-final loss last weekend. Cats coach Shannon Bakes has predicted his team will use a smaller forward line in today’s do-or-die preliminary final. Picture: Stuart Wilson.
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