Tasman and Mallee Park face on in first semi

Port Lincoln semi final preview

FINALS time for the Port Lincoln Football League has arrived and the A grade starts off with what should be a well contested game of football.

Tasman feature in both senior first semi finals this weekend, a great result considering they have not had a senior finals presence in the past two years.

However they face teams that can play aggressive attacking football, and must not be underestimated.

A GRADE – Tasman v Mallee Park

This knockout semi final will be won by whoever can dominate the clearances in the midfield.

Tasman finished three wins clear ahead of Mallee Park in third, and have won all three matches against the Peckers in the minor rounds.

The Roosters will be boosted by the expected returns of Wade Mason, Rhyce Beinke and Craig Reincke while Sam Casanova, Jack Thompson and Marcus Gobin are expected to be excluded.

Tasman will need to get it all started in the midfield, look for ruckman Rhys Kelsh to set up runners like Jacob Collins, Brodie White or the Rosalias and Boyd McCurry should be in amongst the packs for contested possessions throughout.

The defensive pressure from the likes of Reincke, Nathan Frost and Cody Mason should prove a factor, as will whether forwards Brent Harris, Ben Daniels or equal top goal kicker Johann Wagner are firing.

However, the Peckers know how to bring on the big occasion football and should play aggressively to cut of Tasman from creating space in the midfield.

We may have yet to see the best football out of Mallee Park this year, and no doubt they will be fielding a strong lineup to play finals football.

If he is back in Kingsley Bilney Jnr will be a key part of the midfield in setting up centre clearances, as would Jayden Roderick and Waylon Johncock.

A strong defence which includes Quade Ware, Ky Miller and Jerome Ah Kit-Burgoyne will not make it easy for the Tasman forwards.

With last year’s final series in the back of their minds, the Peckers can not afford to waste many opportunities in front of goal, there are no second chances with a loss here.

The Peckers can score goals from anywhere and from anyone, so Tasman will need to be on their game with defensive pressure if they want to shut their opponents out.

You can also expect the Peckers to utilise short passes, creating options and commanding the pace of the game whenever they have the ball.

This Mallee Park team have more experience in the past few years playing finals football, more so than Tasman and it would not be a surprise to see the Peckers get up here, but it should be a close, well contested match.

B GRADE – Tasman v Wayback

Tasman have been the biggest improvers in the B grade this year, after finishing sixth in five of the last six years they play their first game of finals football since 2011.

The key has been with the youth injected into the Rooster midfield, who have been able to run the ball down to the more experienced forward line, not to mention effective defensive pressure.

Dylan Perry will be out from last week’s line up but the Roosters will be expecting some players to return from playing A grade last week.

Tasman will hope to outrun Wayback in the midfield with young players including Jack Parsons, Jaron Shelton and Max Willmott to play a big part.

Craig Bascobme and Inti Aburto should stand up in defence and if Andrew Frick can kick another bag of goals, like he did against Lincoln South last Saturday, the Roosters will be well on their way.

However, Wayback are always a competitive, tough outfit, even if they have struggled with numbers throughout the season. 

The Demons will hopefully field one of their strongest lineups of the year and will need everyone to stand up against a very determined Tasman outfit.

The Demons will need to get in the face of the Rooster midfielders, cutting off their run and clearing the ball from contests down to their forward 50.

Paul Montgomerie is expected back in this weekend after a stint in the A grade, as will Riley Hatcher who will look to give his midfield first use from the ruck.

Look for Demon midfielders Simon Hunt, Sam Franklin and captain Brett Osborne to win plenty of the ball and utilise effective disposals to set up passages to the forward 50.

The Wayback defence will also look to be a difference maker in this game, the big questions will be whether they will have the legs to keep up with the Roosters and whether they can make the most of shots in front of goal.

Tasman should get the win here and advance on to the preliminary final on September 15 where they will face a tougher opponent in either Lincoln South or Marble Range.