Thursday, 23 August 2012

Final Four Set to Test the North.

Gabriel Tams (Centre) will start for the Rangers this weekend.
The first taste of next year’s Victory League will be on offer this weekend with two Victory League sides going up against each other in Northern Rangers and Kingborough Lions, while Premier League sides in Prospect Knights and Newtown will play Victory League sides in South Hobart and Devonport respectively, the all Premier League fixture is between Ulverstone and Clarence.
Rangers V Kingborough will kick off at 2pm at the NTCA.  Northern Rangers will be without Scott Murray who left for a scholarship in the US on Sunday after securing the title with his club, with Patty Lanau-Atkinson coming into the line up to replace Murray.  Other than that, the Rangers remain unchanged bar the no show from substitute Simon Petrusma at training this week, his spot will be taken by Gabriel Tams, who also finds himself in the starting line up for the first time this year, after back 30+ goals in the Reserves.
Damien Pearce is the only exclusion from the Kingborough Lions line up this week, he is out through suspension.
Kingborough Coach Matthew Rhodes doesn’t believe the anyone expects his side to win this week, and is approaching the game as the under dogs in his mind, taking the pressure off his boys.  This will be the first time Northern Rangers and Kingborough Lions have ever met, and both sides will be keen to progress to the next round and challenge for the State Title.
Prospect Knights will have a tough job travelling to South Hobart with a under strength side.  Knights are without Mark Barker (suspended) goal keeper Kris Beardwood is unavailable along with Sean Harris.  Nathan Balym is recovering from foot surgery too.
South will be rearing to go, particularly after many of their players were involved in the match Vs Melbourne Victory earlier in the week.
South have barely put a foot wrong again this year, but only just shaved the title for the fifth successive year, in a arm wrestle with New Town Eagles, and go into this year’s State Final Series as the Favourites to win it for the third straight year.  
The only other team with their name on the Forestry Tasmania State Championship shield is Clarence United, and they must travel to Ulverstone and win away to progress at 12 midday at the Ulverstone Show grounds.
Clarence will know the ground well, having played Rangers there in 2009, winning on penalties and eventually taking the State title from 4th on the SPL Table.
Start recruits Ortiz and Cairns are under injury clouds, but if they play, Clarence could mount a charge at the title if they can pass Ulverstone.

Joel Stone will be hard to contain in midfield for

Ulverstone will be no push over, as I rate them as one of the best sides in the state at present.  No prizes for guessing who they will turn to for goals, Brayden Mann has been in great form and on cloud nine after a fine State appearance earlier in the week.  But Mann is only one part of a powerful line up, with both Conkie boy’s expected to line up next to him, with Stone, Ben Foote and Crocker through midfield.  Ulverstone also have the best defensive record in the NPL, though this part of their team is probably their weakest link, it speak volumes of their ability, and I expect they will progress at the expense of an impressive Clarence line up.
Devonport have a tough ask going to Clare Street, but have the ability if they can apply themselves. Arguably the strongest striking pair in Mckeown and Lezinski for Eagles will give the Devonport defense constant headaches, and Liam Scott is in career best form in midfield.
Devonport will be missing talented young pairing in Michael Holden and Jesse Curran, but Coach Chris McKenna is expected to line up for the Strikers, with Bradly Chilcott coming into midfield for Curran.
As much as the North would like to see Devonport progress, the task in front of them is difficult, and I can’t see Newtown losing two weeks in a row.

1 comment:

  1. Ulverstone and rangers will progress along with south and newtown. Could be a great weekend of football as I'd pay to watch all of those games