GRAND FINAL PREVIEWS – Sunday 27th September


Written by Michael Shillito


We’re at the business end of the season, and on Sunday we have five premierships up for grabs at Rosedale Oval.


Womens Division Three Grand Final

The first premiership cup on the line is the Womens Division Three title. It’s a battle of the south-west being played in the south-west, with Wollondilly Knights taking on Campbelltown Blues.

The Knights have been the standout team in this division in 2020, completing the home and away season undefeated with an enormous percentage. So dominant were the Knights that they only conceded three goals in the regular season. But they were given a solid test by Manly in the Semi Final, holding on to win by 12 points to get through to the decider.

Lisa Kuschert has spearheaded the charge in 2020, and the Knights will again be looking to her to add to her tally of 22 goals for the season and get a winning score on the board. And keep an eye on Zoe Groom, who has been a ball magnet this season and will again be looking to play a key role this time round.

Their opponents in the Grand Final will be Campbelltown. The Blues have also had an impressive season, and only gave away five goals in the regular season; before being 28 points too good for North Shore in last Sunday’s Semi Final at Kanebridge.

If the Blues are to manage a winning score, they’ll be looking for a big contribution from Sharon Freeman, who has already found the big sticks 27 times this year. Also watch out for Laura Seeney, who has consistently put in big efforts every week.

This Grand Final is the only meeting between the two clubs this year, after wet weather forced the cancellation of the only scheduled clash during the home and away season. With both teams so strong defensively, goals will be worth their weight in gold. Expect a low-scoring tussle, where every possession will be fiercely contested. But the Knights, in such a stellar season, should just have the slightest edge.

Prediction – Wollondilly by 6 points.


Womens Division Two Grand Final

Up next at 11:10am is the Womens Division Two Grand Final, which will see St George Dragons taking on Western Magic.

It’s St George’s second season in women’s footy, and they’ve done well so far. A Division Three premiership in the first season and now they’re into another Grand Final. After dropping their opening round game, the Dragons haven’t lost since. After taking out the minor premiership, they held on against a fast-finishing Manly in the Semi Final to make it through to the big dance.

Lili Braidner has been the spearhead for the Dragons forwards this season, and the Dragons will again be looking to her to get a winning score on the board. And around the ground, Maddison Hatswell has been a consistent performer and the Magic will be doing well if they can keep her quiet.

It’s been a tough year for the Western Magic club, and their womens’ side forfeited the first game and were well beaten in round 2. But after that, they began to pick up and lifted further every week. Some thumping wins in the last two rounds of the regular season lifted them to second on the ladder, which they followed up with a 54-point win over Inner West in the Semi Final to make it through.

Tiarne Klein has been a dominant force up forward for the Magic, playing a key role in getting winning scores in the board as they made their run to the finals. Jaimie Druery has picked up plenty of the ball around the ground, and will again be a player to keep tabs on if the Magic are to get themselves into a winning position in this match.

The Dragons were too good in the only clash between the two sides this year, comfortably accounting for the Magic by 27 points at Olds Park in round 2. The Magic have built some momentum since then and have legitimate reason to hold out high hopes of lifting the premiership cup. But the Dragons have been the form side all season, and would surely be favourites to take out the title.

Prediction – St George by 18 points.


Mens Division Two Grand Final

Mens Division Two is next up, with a clash between North Shore Bombers and Sydney Uni.

North Shore were minor premiers, winning seven from eight games during the regular season. After a first-up loss, they lifted and have rarely been threatened since; and the momentum continued to build with a minor premiership and then a convincing 75-point win over Wollondilly in the Semi Final. Remarkably, they have conceded just one goal in their last three matches.

Getting a score on the board will be of importance, and the Bombers have plenty of players capable of finding the big sticks. Max Cassidy has been a key factor in their success on the forward line, and will be keen to add to his 20 goals kicked so far in 2020. Also keep an eye on Jack Bateman, who has been a consistent performer throughout the season and will be looking to again make a prominent contribution this time round.

Sydney Uni have only dropped two games during the regular season, and finished with a wet sail in the last two rounds with wins over 100 points. It was a closer contest in the Semi Final, but the Students were 21 points too good for Pennant Hills to make it through.

The Students will be looking for a winning score, and will be turning to Charlie Morgan to contribute on the scoreboard as he has through the season. In general play, Ewan Spinks has been a standout contributor, and the Students will again be depending on him to gather the possessions needed to keep the ball moving forward.

The teams met once during the regular season, with the Bombers being 38 points too good for the Students at Gore Hill in round 6. The Students will take the fight up to the Bombers, but the form lines over the course of the season suggest that the Bombers, if they turn up on the day and play to their best, should be able to get the job done.

Prediction – North Shore by 28 points.


Mens Division One Grand Final

Next up at 3:30pm is the Mens Division One Grand Final, the second game of the day that sees North Shore taking on Sydney Uni.

North Shore have enormous player depth this year, which has been reflected in this, their third grade side. The Bombers have been a dominant force in this season, going through the home and away season undefeated with an enormous percentage; and then racing away with their Semi Final at Kanebridge last week to defeat UNSW-ES by 97 points and make their way into the decider.

North Shore will need to get some goals on the board, and have plenty of players capable of stepping up and getting it done. Watch out for Danny Roberts, now in the twilight of his career but still capable of leading and marking and with th e hunger to add one more premiership medal to his collection. Around the ground, Harry Barnum is one who has consistently got plenty of the ball and frequently appears among the team’s best.

Their opponents will be Sydney Uni. The Students finished third after the home and away season with six wins from eight games, and then held on against a fast-finishing Pennant Hills in the Semi Final to win by 12 points and book their place in this competition decider.

The Students’ forward firepower has come from Billy Lambert, who has accumulated 37 major scores this season and will need to clock up plenty more in this match if the Students are to record a winning score. In general play, Jason Cheah has been a consistent performer this year and will need to again get plenty of the ball in this contest.

The Bombers won the only meeting between the two sides in the regular season, defeating the Students by 28 points at Gore Hill in the final round. The Students will turn up ready to play, and will throw everything they have at this contest. But the Bombers have been the dominant force in this division all season; and it would be a monumental boilover if their undefeated run was to end in the Grand Final.

Prediction – North Shore by 34 points.


Mens Division Three Grand Final

The last game in a marathon day of footy is the Men’s Division Three, which will see North Shore Bombers, in their third Grand Final of the day, take on Newtown Breakaways.

North Shore dropped only one game during the regular season on their way to the minor premiership. But it took some last-minute heroics to get over the line against UNSW-ES in their Semi Final at Kanebridge last Saturday. But they got the goal in the dying seconds that was enough to go through.

In what is likely to be a tight contest, getting goals on the board will be valuable; and the Bombers will be looking to Ben Greaves to make a major contribution in the goal-scoring department, as he has done for much of this season. And in general play, big man Keegan Gyoery will have a key role to play in giving the Bombers first use of the ball.

Newtown have a long history in womens’ footy, but this is the first year they’ve fielded a men’s team. It’s gone better for them than they could ever have imagined. The Breakaways have dropped just one game during the regular season. It was close in the Semi Final, but they managed to get through to the Grand Final after prevailing over Inner West by nine points.

The Breakaways will be looking to Alex Evans to spearhead the charge up forward and get a winning score. And around the ground, keep your eye on John Murtagh, who has consistently been a prominent performer; and the Breakaways will again be looking on him to perform in this, the game that matters most.

Newtown won the only meeting between the two sides during the regular season, defeating North Shore by 60 points at Mahoney Park in round 6. This game should be much closer, with the Bombers carrying some good momentum into this clash. It’s hard to split these sides in what’s iikely to be a contest that goes down to the wire.

Prediction – North Shore by 4 points.


Covid-19 Protocols and Ticketing

To enable AFL Sydney to effectively implement and operate a COVID safety plan, Grand Final days will be ticketed to ensure crowd numbers stay at or under 500 at any time. Tickets are not available to the general public and will not be issued on the gate. The only tickets available have been allocated to each competing team which they will share among players, officials and spectators. Entry into the venue will only be permitted to ticket holders. Contact your club for more information on how to secure a ticket, otherwise you can stream all the action live on our Facebook page.


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