MARYBOROUGH-CASTLEMAINE DISTRICT FOOTBALL LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
NAVARRE V CARISBROOK - 2.35pm Sunday at Princes Park, Maryborough
WHAT has quickly become one of the Maryborough-Castlemaine District Football League’s top rivalries continues on Sunday in the grand final at Princes Park.
Navarre will take on Carisbrook for the premiership.
Navarre will play in its fourth grand final in as many years since joining the MCDFL, while Carisbrook has long been a power of the competition, having played in every finals series since 2002.
The two clubs have played against each other in the finals every year since Navarre joined the MCDFL in 2011.
Among their finals meetings was the 2012 grand final when Carisbrook won by 22 points, as well as last year’s preliminary final when the Redbacks had gone in undefeated, but lost to the Grasshoppers by four points.
But this time the roles are reversed, with reigning premier Navarre undefeated.
“Going through the season without a loss so far is credit to all the boys for putting in the hard work, but it means nothing if we don’t finish it off on Sunday,” Navarre coach Daniel Parkin said on Thursday.
“We saw that last year when we got over Carisbrook in the preliminary final, so we know they will be very keen to get some redemption for that.”
Navarre powered its way through the home and away season, picking up from where it left off on grand final day last year when it thumped Lexton by 101 points.
The Grasshoppers won their 16 home and away games by an average of 87 points, before prevailing in two testing finals against Natte Bealiba by 18 points and Lexton by seven points last week.
Such has been the dominance of the Grasshoppers, last week against the Tigers was the first time this season they’ve trailed at any of the quarter breaks.
One of the many strengths of the Navarre side is its wide array of forward options, which includes Ashley Driscoll (80), Kris Brennan (43), Cody Driscoll (39) and Ben Scott (32) - one of last year’s grand final stars - all having kicked at least 32 goals.
Navarre and Carisbrook have met once this season, with the Grasshoppers inflicting the biggest loss on the Redbacks since 2009 by 89 points in round five.
At that stage of the season the Redbacks had a 3-2 record and sat sixth.
But they’ve since won 12 of their past 13 games, including finals victories over Lexton (eight points) and Natte Bealiba (18) last week.
“Navarre has been a great side since they came into the competition... really consistent and hard to beat,” Carisbrook coach Luke Treacy said.
“We respect them enormously and hopefully, we can turn the tables on what happened last year.
“We feel our form has improved as the year has gone on, but it’s going to be all about full-ground pressure for four quarters on Sunday.
“We’ll have to pressure them into turning the ball over and limiting their use in the forward half.”
Among the stars for the Redbacks this season have been North Ballarat VFL-listed ruckman Jackson Bowen, forwards Liam Cunningham (76 goals) and Cole Roscoller (37) and coach Treacy, who has enjoyed an injury-free year.
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Won: 18. Lost: 0.
Average for: 125.3. Against: 46.1.
Quarters won: 64/72.
Time in front: 95.8%.
Flag odds: $1.50.
Won: 15. Lost: 3.
Average for: 96.0. Against: 53.7.
Quarters won: 53/72.
Time in front: 81.9%.
Flag odds: $2.50.
PATH TO THE GRAND FINAL:
Rd 1: 108 d Lexton 71.
Rd 2: 162 d Harcourt 34.
Rd 3: 96 d Talbot 69.
Rd 4: 172 d Campbells Creek 67.
Rd 5: 127 d Carisbrook by 38.
Rd 6: 128 d Avoca 29.
Rd 7: 191 d Dunolly 40.
Rd 8: 162 d Rovers 50.
Rd 9: 96 d Maldon 27.
Rd 10: 130 d Newstead 33.
Rd 11: 91 d Royal park 17.
Rd 12: 173 d Campbells creek 28.
Rd 13: 64 d Natte bealiba 40.
Rd 14: 129 d Trentham 30.
Rd 15: 160 d Maldon 53.
Rd 16: 91 d Dunolly 53.
Qual final: 89 d Natte Bealiba 71.
Prelim final: 87 d Lexton 80.
Rd 1: 47 lt Newstead 68
Rd 2: 100 d Natte Bealiba 59
Rd 3: 119 d Harcourt 36
Rd 4: 100 d Talbot 47
Rd 5: 38 lt Navarre 127
Rd 6: 98 d Maldon 52
Rd 7: 110 d Avoca 49
Rd 8: 93 d Dunolly 21
Rd 9: 116 d Rovers 51
Rd 10: 74 d Campbells Creek 46
Rd 11: 129 d Trentham 47
Rd 12: 128 d Avoca 55
Rd 13: 48 lt Lexton 62
Rd 14: 127 d Newstead 35
Rd 15: 122 d Harcourt 50
Rd 16: 124 d Royal Park 32
Qual final: 69 d Lexton 61
Prelim final: 86 d Natte Bealiba 68