NCFL Grand Final Preview | Nullawil aims to end Tigers’ run in biggest match

NULLAWIL faces a daunting task against the unbeaten Sea Lake Nandaly to claim the Goldacres North Central FNL senior footy premiership on Saturday.

It’s a showdown between the Maroons and Tigers for the cup at Boort Park from 2.30pm.

The Brett Barker-coached Nullawil is chasing a unique feat of being premier in separate leagues across two seasons.

Last year’s champion of the Golden Rivers, Nullawil joined North Central in ’23 and has made its way from a first semi-final to tackle the Tigers.

A great run by Nullawil kicked off by beating Donald in the first semi.

The Maroons outplayed last season’s runner-up to score a 90-62 victory.

A week later and Sea Lake Nandaly was first to qualify for the grand final when it beat Birchip-Watchem in the second semi by 39 points.

Nullawil then marked a 68-55 win against Birchip-Watchem in last Saturday’s preliminary final to end the Bulls’ charge at back-to-back premierships.

Now the Maroons step up to face an SLN team, jointly coached by Bryce Delmenico and Billy McInnes, aiming to be undefeated champions of 2023.

The Tigers’ run included a 91-47 win against Nullawil at Sea Lake in round four, and an 82-55 victory on Nullawil’s turf in the 13th round.

A key to Nullawil’s chances will be its workrate and ability to win contests at centre breaks and stoppages.

Huge challenge for the Maroons against Tigers’ captain and ruckman Ryan O’Sullivan, and joint Feeny medallist Trent Donnan.

A superb season for Donnan included being joint winner of the league’s fairest and best award with Birchip-Watchem star Nicholas Rippon.

Now Donnan will play a key role as the Tigers hunt for their first premiership victory since 2019 when they beat the Bulls by 19 points.

Major goal for Nullawil will be limiting the quality and quantity of supply to Nullawil’s attack.

A formidable forward line for Sea Lake Nandaly is led by Billy McInnes, 48 goals; John Summerhayes, 37; Thomas Cox, 24; and Tyson McKenzie, 23.

The Tigers also have former Adelaide and Geelong key forward Josh Jenkins who kicked nine goals in the second semi-final win.

Although he has played just seven matches, Jenkins has kicked 45 goals for the yellow and black.

Nullawil’s defence will rely a lot on a high level of pressure being put on further up the ground.

Nullawil’s key targets in the forward 50m arc are Adam Thomson, 45 goals; captain Jordan Humphreys, 34; Mitch Farmer, 25; Dean Smith, 25; and Andrew Oberdorfer, 22.

Players to watch for the Maroons include Zac Caccaviello, Andrew Casey and Dean Putt.

It’s Sea Lake Nandaly against Nullawail in the grand final of the Haeuslers reserves competition from 12.35pm.

The Tigers ended the home-and-away series on a 15-1 record and first place.

Nullawil was second on a win-loss of 12-3, and a draw.

The grand finalists met two Saturdays ago in the second semi-final.

On that day the Tigers charged to an 89-34 victory.

Best for the Tigers were Connor Michael, Chase Tait, Joel Clohesy and Angus Collins.

The SLN team for the grand final includes Will Simpson, Joel Donnan and Max Cahoon.

Nullawil hit back to beat Birchip Watchem in the preliminary final by 38 points.

Sol and Dude Kelly, Matt Hogan and Tom Fawcett were the Maroons’ best.

Nullawil’s team to tackle the Tigers includes Charlie Fawcett, James and Shane Barker, and Matt Harrop.

It was one-all in the clashes between Sea Lake Nandaly and Nullawil in the home-and-away series.

The Tigers won at home in the fourth round by 23 points.

A two-goal win by Nullawil in the 13th round broke SLN’s winning streak.

The rising stars from Boort and St Arnaud meet in the grand final of the Charlton and District Community Bank-sponsored under-17s competition at 10.55am.

These teams met in the second semi where Boort dominated play to record a 95-20 victory.

Key players for the Magpies include Brodie Arnold, Alex Chamberlain, Jett Hird and Brodie Wagner.

In eight matches, Wagner has kicked 21 goals.

The Saints struck back for a 66-32 win against Birchip-Watchem in the preliminary final as Tyson Funston, Owen Lowe, Mason Thomas and Frankie Donald led the way.

Among St Arnaud’s best was Jackson Needs who has kicked 35 goals for the Saints.

Another key target for the Saints is Owen Lowe who has booted 25 goals.

In the run to the finals St Arnaud marked 15 wins and a loss to be top of the ladder.

A record of 14-1 and a draw put Boort in second place.

The Saints won on Boort’s turf in the eighth round by 10 points.

Next time it was the Magpies who swooped for a 65-46 victory at St Arnaud’s Lord Nelson Park which ended the Saints unbeaten run.

Grand final footy action kicks off at 9.30am when Donald meets Sea Lake Nandaly in the Uniting Church under-14s match.

The grand finalists finished the home-and-away series in first and second place.

A 15-1 tally put the Tigers on top as the Royal Blues were next on a 14-2 record.

In the second semi-final, Donald outplayed Sea Lake Nandaly to record a 53-15 victory.

Donald led 15-8 at half-time and won the third, 13-6.

In the last the Royal Blues outran the Tigers to win the quarter, 25-1, and the match by 38 points.

Luca Rice, Baxter Donnellon, Charlie Burke, Jesse Lydom, Lyric Davis and Myles Hollis were best for the Royal Blues.

Sea Lake Nandaly struck back to record a 54-14 win against Boort in the preliminary final.

Hugo Warne, Chad O’Sullivan, Charlie Winter-Goldman, Angus Renney, Henry Cox and Coby Wight were best for the Tigers in that contest.