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BFNL Weekend Preview - Preliminary Final, 2023

The penultimate weekend in the BFNL football competition will see North Ballarat and East Point go head-to-head for a chance to join Darley in the Grand Final.

North Ballarat


East Point


2023 Previous Meets
Round 5 @ Eastern Oval, East Point 95 def. North Ballarat 75
Round 18 @ Mars Stadium, North Ballarat 53 def. by East Point 62

Giant killers East Point continue their dream run into a preliminary final for a third scalp having ousted league heavyweights Sebastopol (3rd) and Melton (1st).

Next up is Brendan McCartney's well organised North Ballarat outfit, the very team the Roos overcame in Round 18 at Mars Stadium to sneak into the final six.

In fact, the Kangas should hold no fears for the Roosters on the BFNL’s penultimate day having won all of their last three meets.

Possibly, the Kangas greatest concern lies at selection with a handful of top end Coates League Talent players now available.

But what a risk to upset the apple cart that has performed so well.

Given the GWV Rebels are done, the window is open for the likes of the Charleston brothers, Fred Valpied, Archie Caldow, Ollie Hannaford and Ned Renfree to be included.

Not to mention Jordy Johnston and his potential return from a thumb injury.

While he resembled more of Woody Harrelson's character in 'King Pin' on Sunday, you wouldn't put it past the miracle matchwinner making a premature cameo return.

Sure, depth quality is a nice problem to have but I don't envy Jackson Merrett's quandary over the magnets.

It will be business as usual for McCartney's boys in the lead up despite coming off a disappointing 61-point loss to Darley.

When you consider the Roosters were near full-strength last week, expect a forgive run to be granted, a mulligan if you will.

The Roosters’ top end talent is too good to ignore, so don't expect a repeat performance of their semi final failings.

They're a proud group and will prove very hard to beat. 

Only three times this year have VFL listed trio Sam Glover, Jamie Quick and Jack Riding featured in the same team for a win (Sunbury) and two losses (Sebastopol, Darley).

Finding the right spot for these three to have the greatest impact is a challenge any BFNL coach would like to have with the trio, Glover (forward or back), Quick (forward deep/high) and Riding (mid/forward) all versatile in their own way.

The Roosters will look for a spike in their efficiency by foot and their cleanliness at ground level for these Kangas are coming. 

Aerially the Roosters are sound, well-disciplined and more than capable.

Just who will be asking the questions of who in the Roosters’ defence v Kangas’ forward battle makes for compelling viewing.

While McCartney has said “match ups are becoming a thing of the past” there is no denying Kangas’ trio Bryce McDougall, Jack Jeffrey and 16 year old sensation Strahan Robinson with the young gun kicking five goal the last time these two teams met in Round 18

All three will require some attention given they've combined for 20 of East Point’s 26 goals in week one and two of the finals.

Furthermore, the proximity of those deep shots on goal is a concern and will test the Roosters disciplined defence.

In the midfield, Kangas duo Matty Johnston and Joe Dodd are in form and have been instrumental at the business end with their clearance numbers.

Johnston's clean ground ball ability will need to be matched or denied by the Roosters who have the advantage of premier tap ruck Cam McCullum.

The Roosters need a speed injection and clean hands thrown into the midfield to improve on their hit-outs to effective clearance ratio.

The Roosters must find a way to kick a score against the freewheeling Kangas and more often they will give you a chance.

But it will take more than Jamie Quick to get it done. Who will stand up and deliver on the Roosters’ biggest day of their season?

Glover, Riding and Quick are the obvious weapons but is that enough? The Kangas have eight goal scorers in the BFNLs top 50, the Roosters just five.

The Kangas will hit the scoreboard on a predicted warm September day. Can the Roosters go with them on a fast track and make the most of their chances? 

I'm not so sure - tipping the young guns of the Kangas to prevail in an upset under the leadership and courage of their captain Matty Johnston.


Scoop – East Point        

Aaron Tymms (Melton) – North Ballarat   

Gary Learmonth (Redan) – East Point

Jason Williams (Bacchus Marsh) – North Ballarat

Tim Shearer (Lake Wendouree) – East Point

Travis Hodgson (Sunbury) – North Ballarat

Chris Maple (Ballarat) – North Ballarat

Jason Hoy (Melton South) – North Ballarat

Luke Kiel (Sebastopol) – East Point

Leading goalkickers (inside BFNL top 50)

North Ballarat: 45 - J.Quick, 17 - E.Lamb, J.Riding, 14 - S.Glover, 13 - S.Crameri

East Point: 34 - B.McDougall, 29 - B.Whittaker, 23 - J.Jeffrey, 22 - L.Canny, 21 - J.Johnston, 20 - S.Robinson, 17 - J.Merrett, 13 - M.Johnston.

The 'FORM LADDER' top 3 v top 3

Darley P4 W3 L1 (lost to North Ballarat)

East Point P3 W2 L1 (lost to Darley)

North Ballarat P5 W1 L4 (lost to East Point x2, Darley x2)