GRAND FINAL PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Under 19s Division Two
Written by Michael Shillito
Under 19s Division Two Grand Final
West Goannas vs. North Shore Bombers – Sunday, 8 September at 9.00am at Blacktown ISP Oval 1
Sunday sees four premiership titles on the line, in what is sure to be a massive day of highs and lows. First up is the Under 19s Division Two Grand Final which sees West Goannas taking on North Shore at Blacktown, with the first bounce at 9am.
Under 19s Division Two is a seven-team league, with a top four. With an odd number of teams and a bye every week, both clubs that are playing in this Grand Final played 14 games during the regular season.
West Goannas have been the standout team in this competition, and go into this clash as the hottest of favourites. A joint venture between Inner West Magpies and Holroyd-Parramatta, the Goannas have drawn the best young talent from their catchment areas. Despite representing two very different clubs and not always training together the West Goannas have moulded themselves into a strong fighting unit.
The Goannas finished the regular season undefeated, winning all 14 games they played and recording an impressive percentage of 430.71. The impressive form continued in the major semi-final, where they were 71 points too good for Sydney Uni.
Taidgh Ryan has spearheaded the charge for the Goannas this season, leading the way up forward with 31 goals for the season. Cooper Newtown has contributed 17, while Todd Dale and Matt Tanuku have each got 12. There’s no shortage of attacking options for the Goannas and they’ll be keeping the North Shore defenders on their toes all day.
There’s some good talent all around the ground. Matt Tanuku has been the standout, named in the Goannas’ best nine times. Aaron Naulty has featured six times, while Lachlan Zerafa, Ryan Miklich and Taidgh Ryan have each appeared five times.
North Shore has always been a strong junior nursery and although the Bombers’ Under 19s Division One team didn’t make the finals this year, the Division Two side has hit their best form at the right time of year to make it through.
The Bombers finished the regular season in third place, winning eight of their 14 games in the regular season with a percentage of 120.73. There was plenty of drama in their run through the finals, as the Bombers got up in an extra time thriller against Southern Power in the Minor Semi-Final before defeating Sydney Uni by 26 points in the Preliminary Final to win through to this clash.
Ben Greaves has spearheaded the charge for the Bombers this season, drawing twin flags from the goal umpires 25 times. Campbell Saddington has contributed 12 goals to the cause, while Jack Dillon is in third place with eight goals. The Bombers have the forward power to find goals out of nothing, which they will need to achieve to get over the line this time.
Campbell Saddington and Luke Lawrence have featured prominently around the ground for the Bombers, appearing in their best players list eight times; while Ehsen Shaikh has appeared six times. The Bombers will be looking for these players to again lead the way.
The two teams have met twice this season. In round six at Picken Oval, the Goannas put on one of their typical performances to dominate the Bombers and record an 86-point win. But the Bombers put the Goannas under pressure in the return game at Gore Hill in the final round. The Bombers hit the front in the third term with the Goannas only regaining the lead with a goal after the siren. But the Goannas hit their form in the last quarter to win by 44 points.
The Bombers have some good form behind them, and they’re ready to hit their straps and take it up to the Goannas. This game could well be a lot closer than most of the Goannas’ games this season. But after running through the season undefeated and rarely challenged; it’s hard to go past the Goannas’ chances of completing the clean sweep and taking out premiership glory.
Prediction – West Goannas by 18 points.