Community footy club, The Woodsmen will be taking on Kedron tonight at Zillmere in their quest for back to back Premierships
After a difficult Premiership defence, with an injury curse well and truely striking the club - the Woodies are hitting their straps at the right time of year as they take on the more fancied undefeated Kedron outfit. The Woodsmen will be looking to repeat their 2009 Premiership win at Zillmere when they defeated Jimboomba who had also enjoyed an undefeated home & away season.
The Woodsmen have taken on Kedron twice this season, and both times dominated the first half of the game before tiring late to give up victory - however, had they taken advantage of their opportunities in front of goal in both games they could have enjoyed more substantial early leads.
Despite ACL injuries to the previous two Nipperess Medal winners, Reid Dobson and Jay Baker as well as season ending injuries to Will Pierce, Matt McNaughton, Luke Knight in addition to the loss of gun on-baller Matt Monaghan before the season commenced - the Woodies will enter the decider full of confidence with a rejuvenated lineup brimming with talent not previously seen by their opposition.
The Woodies have built their game on a miserly defence, conceding more than 10 goals just once in their past 30 outings and for just the second time this season will have their full strength starting back 6 fit and raring to go. In the two pockets are the ageless Chris La Burniy, who can play tall or small with superb vertical leap and club favourite Matty Prior who has an uncompromising team first attitude, as well as superb tackling and run from defence. Coming from the defensive goal square will be talented first year player, Paul Eaton with his elite closing speed, willingness to take the game on and long kicking. Big Paul will have his work cut out for him, playing on opposition gun forward, George Fitzgibbon who has proven to be the difference for Kedron in several games this year.
Across half back, is where the Woodies really shine with hard nut flankers Ricky Dudley and Richie Hemsley who make their opponents earn every kick, use the ball well and both players are not afraid to take the mark if the situation permits. At Centre Half Back is champion player Tim Green, superb in the air with his spoiling and marking and his anticipation of play is as good as any. No doubt Greeny would have played plenty of Senior Footy at the Western Magpies had he had the interest.
The centre line includes new recruit Lochie McDonald from Adelaide Uni, with his scything runs up one wing and long kicking a feature. On the other wing is club veteran Kiran Verma, who has enjoyed a fine season and will be looking to use his pace on the outside. In the centre will be club favourite Brett McEvoy with his clean hands and superb disposal off either foot a feature.
The half forward line is taller than most, with backup ruckman Dave Walter replacing Andrew Thomson on the flank, after he suffered a suspected broken ankle in the Preliminary final win. On the other flank is the hard working Chris Davis, renowned for his repeat efforts and genuine desire to repeatedly put his head over the footy. At Centre Half Forward is the big man Gerard Moore, who despite a slow start to his time with the Woodies is really starting to hit his straps when it counts and will be a dangerous target in dry conditions.
Up front includes a mixture of size, grunt, class and experience with skipper Sean Toohey in the pocket offering both a marking target and ground level skills to mop up the loose ball. The mercurial left footer Jamie Leidke sits in the other pocket and can turn a game in minutes with his no holds barred approach and quality finishing skills. Out of the square comes the traditional big stay at home full forward in Stephen Forbes who has now recovered from a nasty flu and will be fit and raring to go for the first time in a month and looks primed to take the game by the scruff of the neck if he has his kicking boots on.
The engine room includes Mr Perpetual motion, Darcy McEwen in the ruck, who just keeps on keeping on with his ability to stay in the game and keep bashing the ball forward. The ground level on-ball division is a mixture of youth and experience with Chris Mihalopoulos and Sam Curtis taking charge, Sammy with his speed and 'bull at the gate' methods, and Mika with his status as a wily old veteran who just keeps finding the footy in tight.
Making up the bench are utility player Warwick Forman who has had stints in the ruck most of the year, as well as regular relief work in defence. However, big Wazza popped up forward last week after the injury to Thommo to kick an important goal to seal the win. Club stalwarts Greg Matthews and Ben Eckert will make up the midfield rotations, while utility player Simon Purkiss gets his opportunity after being an unlucky omission for the Prelim final.
Coached by club legend, Scott Keane - the Woodies go into the game as underdogs but have a strong belief in themselves and their ability to win when it counts. The Woodies play an exciting brand of footy and lift for big occasions and big crowds, so we encourage all Magpie fans to get out to Zillmere tonight at 7:30pm for what promises to be a great battle and watch the Woodsmen bring home one of many 2015 flags for the black and white from Chelmer.