Dale Tonkin’s preview of the big match between South and Central
The heat will be on in this game early, that almost goes without saying, but I believe the point of difference is young Mitchell Henderson at 26 years of age and 198cm.
He’s highly co ordinated and very good below his knees can and will set South up in and around the stoppage.
I think he has been the most influential player all year and he has excellent support at ground level in Nug Purcell and Heath Caldwell and as I have been saying all year, South’s take away game gains them so much territory around the ground it is very hard to stop unless the stoppage is protected.
Central must protect this area and maybe put some thought into double banking Caldwell and or Purcell.
Central present danger themselves around the ground, which South will need to put some time into.
Josh Hanford is a player who plays tall and is also good at ground level.
Jory has some class about him and Beesly was super impressive last week, so there’s room for both teams to put a little work into their opposition.
For me it will come back to the role player that just might hold the key for both sides – examples of this are Bird from South who hits up outside the arc and connects with his defence, or Hanford from Central.
Both teams have a half a dozen of these role players who invariably are the keys to each team’s success.
Both teams have quality around the ground, especially in the midfield.
It really is a case of who wants to work the harder and who wants to take responsibility for their own actions whether that be offensively or defensively, but the really good ones do these acts both ways.
Up forward for each team are completely different types of players.
Cody Schorn for South is a leading forward who has elite skill.
Central will really need to drop one in the hole and not allow Cody easy ball.
Central do have the two twin towers in Deckardt and Wilson, both stand and grab
players who are physically strong and aggressive, but the supply has to come from somewhere and that’s what I mean by the very good midfielders applying pressure both ways, limiting their opposition’s output and getting out and offensively attacking.
South will more than likely make approximately 10 or so changes, which isn’t really all that ideal heading into a Grand Final, whether that is due to injury or other commitments.
But, having said that, they are all experienced players who get the job done from week to week.
Central do look a lot more settled and my guess is that one extra game they played made them hardened for the following week. Or you could argue, South’s one week rest has really refreshed them.
I do think the game will become a real arm wrestle early and it should be quite physical.
Central won’t give up but i firmly believe once the initial heat slowly disappears from the game South’s elite and skillful players will take control.
South has been the best team all year for a reason and I expect them to be holding up the cup once the final siren sounds.
I do congratulate both teams for making it today, and also the other two teams for making this year one hell of a season.
Congratulations then to all four clubs and AFL Broken Hill for making this season one to remember and a big hand too to everyone involved in the clubs – the people and volunteers around the clubs really make it all work.
My prediction is South run away in the second half by 7 goals.