Loy Yang B Gippsland Power can lay claim to the best and fairest TAC cup player this season, now all they need is the trophy.
The Power will confront Sandringham Dragons at Visy Park, Melbourne in Saturday’s preliminary final coming off the high of Nick Graham’s Morrish medal victory last Sunday, but the man of the hour is only focused on clearing the penultimate hurdle.
“Preparation is huge and so is trying to do all the little things we can control… hopefully we can have a good win and put ourselves in a grand final,” Graham said.
The Power enjoyed a welcome week off after their bruising 11-point win over Dandenong Stringrays in the elimination final, giving key men Tim Membrey, Josh Scott and Simon Deery every opportunity to overcome their injury woes.
“There’s no doubt we were really pleased to get the week off; it was a really physical and fairly brutal game against Stingrays,” Power regional manager Peter Francis said.
“It gave those boys a real chance to freshen up and get those niggles right.
“Simon Deery has been a real barometer for our side throughout the season; when we lost him to his hamstring injury we’ve really missed him so we’ve got our fingers crossed.”
Gippsland will be out for revenge after Sandringham punctured Power’s minor premiership aspirations with an 11-point win last time the teams met in round 16.
Power ultimately finished second on the ladder on percentage and Francis said the team was focused on claiming another flag after their 2005 triumph.
“They’re a group that are really motivated and I know they want to get Gippsland Power’s second flag,” he said.
Francis was confident Power would brush off the buzz around the Morrish medal ahead of the all important fixture.
“They’re a really driven group… they’ll be really focused on the job at hand,” he said.
“We know Sandringham’s a good side; I think it will be a really good game and a really close game.”
The winner of the clash will face either the North Ballarat Rebels or Oakleigh Chargers in the grand final.
Now in its 21st year, the TAC Cup will continue to run as the premier AFL competition for under 18s for the foreseeable future after a new three-year agreement was announced at the Morrish medal on Sunday.
The game starts at 11.15am at Visy Park on Saturday.