Sport

Don’t expect another rout

by
September 07, 2017

With sixth consecutive finals series under their belt, Nagambie knows what needs to be done as it heads into Saturday's semi-final against Violet Town.

It would be hard to find a side with more finals experience than Nagambie.

The Lakers are heading into their sixth straight finals series, having won three premierships since 2010.

Linc Sullivan’s side is one win away from another Kyabram District Football League grand final appearance.

But the Lakers have to overcome Violet Town first as the teams clash in Saturday’s blockbuster second semi-final at Stanhope.

Nagambie has been stung twice against the Towners this season, including a 90-point hiding in round 17.

But it is hard to see it being anywhere near that margin this weekend, with the Lakers missing their entire midfield of Mick Shiels, Anthony Haysom, Mick Roberts and Steve Barber last time around.

‘‘We don’t really look at the past games now. It’s a bit of a cliche, but finals is a new season and we’ll just prepare for this week,’’ Sullivan said.

‘‘The guys know each other well and the core group together have been playing finals every year for the last few years, so they know what to expect from each other.

‘‘Naturally you wait all year to get to this time of year, it’s what you play for, so we’re hoping to go to another level.’’

The Lakers’ schedule has been interrupted, with just one game in almost a month, but Sullivan does not expect that to hurt his side.

‘‘It won’t hinder us because you’ve got guys that were only 25 five years ago and now they’re 30, so it helps with recovery from week-to-week and especially if we’ve got another two or three games to go,’’ Sullivan said.

Nagambie will be almost at full-strength, but key defender Jackson Hutton is finished for the season with a serious injury.

There is a buoyancy around Violet Town, with the Towners in their best position since winning the 2012 flag.

Sean Horsburgh’s side has bowed out in the first week of finals during the past two seasons.

Horsburgh will return to lead his side from the field after an injury, as will his brother Pat and fellow key Leigh Lugg.

‘‘There’s more excitement than nerves within the group and I think everyone is just looking forward to getting out there,’’ Horsburgh said.

‘‘We’ve had three solid training runs during the week off, but it was good to freshen up and give myself, Pat and Leigh an extra week to get right.

‘‘It’s always hard for some of the boys to miss, but the guys that will make way have been really good about it and kept training because you never know what can happen.’’

The Towners lost two games during the home-and-away season — one to Stanhope and a complete upset to Girgarre.

It should be a fascinating battle in the midfield, with Violet Town led by John Woodcock, Sam Poole and Pat Horsburgh, while the Lakers’ brigade of Roberts, Shiels, Haysom and Barber are always dangerous.

Up forward, Ash Hobbs and Rob Staff present challenges for Nagambie’s defence, while veteran Pat Rattray has got himself fit and has been in terrific form for the Lakers.

KDFL FINALS

Second semi-final at Stanhope on Saturday

Seniors: Violet Town v Nagambie at 2.05pm.

Reserves: Tallygaroopna v Merrigum at 12.05pm.

Under-18s: Merrigum v Tallygaroopna at 10.15am.

First semi-final at Girgarre on Sunday

Seniors: Stanhope v Avenel at 2.05pm.

Reserves: Stanhope v Murchison-Toolamba at 12.05pm.

Under-18s: Avenel v Lancaster at 10.15am.

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