By Tyler Lewis
ELLINBANK DISTRICT FOOTBALL LEAGUE
GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
LONGWARRY v ELLINBANK – SATURDAY 14 SEPTEMBER, YARRAGON, 2.10PM
THE RECENT HISTORY:
Semi-final: Longwarry 13.10 (88) def Ellinbank 7.8 (50)
Round 17: Ellinbank 1.5 (11) def Longwarry 1.4 (10)
Round 8: Ellinbank 12.15 (87) def Longwarry 12.2 (74)
Longwarry: Braydon McHugh (45)
Ellinbank: Mitch Cowan (31)
Kickstarting the build up to the grand final, the annual EDFL awards night was held during the week at the Royal Hotel in Drouin.
Poowong midfield ace Jack Hazendonk took out his second Alf Walton Medal in as many years, finishing on 29 votes.
This time instead of sharing the medal with Longwarry midfielder Russell Lehman, Hazendonk edged away to take the honour on his own – three votes clear of the Crows star.
Hazendonk polled in 12 matches and was best afield in eight of those occasions.
Longwarry was awarded with the Most Disciplined Club award, while Ellinbank was awarded the Club Championship.
ALF WALTON MEDAL LEADING VOTE GETTER:
Longwarry: Russell Lehman (2nd, 26 votes)
Ellinbank: Frank D’Agostino (5th, 19 votes)
WHAT THEY SAY: LONGWARRY COACH DANIEL FRY
“It’s been 51 years since we won the last one,” he said.
“It is something you can’t get caught up in too much, we got caught up in it last year being 50 years.
“It isn’t something we will be getting caught up in, but we understand how long it’s been.
“We are injury free and we have the best possible chance with our list so we just have to make sure we bring the pressure and bring everything we did that got us into this position.
“(Last year) Is not something we try to lead on from, we are just trying to really focus on this year, it was heartbreaking but we have an opportunity to go one better.
“It is one of those things, you know people always say the ‘week off is no good’ but at the end of the day it is only mental, nothing more – as long as you go in with the right frame of mind it doesn’t make any difference.
“We will go in the exactly the same with what worked for us in the second semi. I am not really sure what is going to happen with (Ellinbank’s) Adam Cook – he is going to be a massive talking point during the week (after an incident in the preliminary final against Neerim Neerim South).
“But whether he is there or not, we will prepare the exact same.”
At three-quarter time of the qualifying final, Longwarry trailed by seven goals and a grand final berth was going to take another match to get to.
But after a tremendous 30 minutes of football that has shaped the finals series, the Crows will head into the grand final as favourites.
Collecting a monsoon of momentum, the Crows stormed home in the qualifier and knocked off the ladder leaders Ellinbank only a week later.
Following a scare for the Eagles against the Cats, the two best sides of 2019 will meet once again – this time on the big stage where nothing but the red Sherrin matters to all involved.
For the Eagles it will be about halting the avalanche of scoring the Crows can get into from a flick of a switch.
With four players inside the top 10 leading goal kickers, Longwarry isn’t short of avenues to goal.
Hitting form at the right time, the Crows will be tough to negate in all aspects of the ground. Russell Lehman will be a key contributor if Longwarry is to win, while if the Eagles can limit his impact the game will be closer to won.
Despite having the week off, the Crows’ momentum wont change – they are coming in fit and hungry.
The saying is ‘you have to lose one to win one’, and that saying may assert itself if the Crows are to complete redemption after last year’s defeat.