Battle between the big Ms

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MORWELL and Maffra will meet in a qualifying final for the first time in Gippsland League history on Saturday at Moe.

Saturday will also mark the first time in 15 years that the Tigers and the Eagles have met in a finals series.

Morwell has had the upper hand over its opponent during the home and away season, winning both encounters, but the Eagles have the edge when it comes to finals experience with seven premierships in a 10-year period.

“That gives us confidence but finals bring out the best in Maffra. Just because we have won the previous two doesn’t mean anything, we know that they (Maffra) are a really dangerous team and we have just got to try to stop them and create offensive opportunities too,” Morwell coach Harmit Singh said.

Maffra coach Hayden Burgiel said playing at Moe would suit the Eagles’ run and carry.

“The big grounds suit us, we like it dry, so if it’s dry I think with our speed and experience we just might have a little edge over them,” he said.

Morwell got the jump on Maffra early in both matches this season, which Burgiel will be out to address.

“We will have to try to counteract that and get off to a good start,” Burgiel said.

Eyeing a preliminary final berth, the Eagles are the only team to have beaten the reigning premier Sale this year which lies in wait for this weekend’s victor.

“We match up better with Sale now with our strong forward lines. But first we must win it in the midfield to get over Morwell this weekend,” Burgiel said.

The Eagles are expected to be near full strength with Kelvin Porter, James Hutts and Joel Lambourn among those likely to return.

The Tigers too will have a full list to choose from.

Singh himself should return to the line up, as should Collingwood colleague Tarkyn Lockyer, ruckman Tom Crosby, Boyd Bailey, Luke Norder and Jeff Ryan.

Despite its 122-point loss to the Magpies last week, Morwell has plenty of reasons to be confident.

The Tigers’ win loss record for the year was 14 and four, the best by a Morwell team since 1993, a year that saw it go on and win the premiership.