Tanunda VS Nuriootpa
The two most successful clubs of the Barossa, Light and Gawler era with 13 flags between them, Henry Slattery’s Nuriootpa Tigers take on Dean Terlich’s Tanunda Magpies in a highly anticipated season decider at the “Dog Track” this Saturday.
The Magpies, who last won the flag in 2011 - in a golden ‘black and white’ period where they won four successive titles - that day defeating Willaston comprehensively at Angaston Oval.
Tanunda have played in 12 previous BLG Grand Finals for seven victories from their amalgamation in 1987.
The Tigers have played in seven BLG A-grade Grand Finals in this time and have a strong success rate of six victories, with their last being a triumph over Gawler Central in 2015 at Kapunda Oval.
There is a rich and competitive history between the clubs, starting 20 years ago.
In the ’98 decider, Nuriootpa won its fourth flag in a row in 1998, defeating the Magpies famously by a point under the stewardship of Ian Stafford.
The Magpies reversed this result in 2002 under Adrian Cachard, with Tanunda getting up by nine points.
They are the only two BLG teams to have won three or more A-grade premierships in a row, both winning four consecutive titles. Nuriootpa reigned over the competition from 1995 and Tanunda started their run of four in the centenary year of 2008 under Steve Lubcke.
They have been the best two teams this year and finished first and second respectively on the premiership ladder.
Intriguingly, this will be the third time they'll face-off against each other in five weeks. The Nuri Tigers have enjoyed success in each of the three clashes including a hard fought second semi-final match at Eldred Riggs Reserve two weeks ago.
On the negative side the Tigers are expected to be without young key big man Shane Dearlove and Jason Rodda, who were both injured in the second semi-final.
Tanunda also lost Matt Grocke to a season-ending knee injury on second semi-final day, will need to squeeze back into the lineup Trent Goers, who missed the preliminary final.
On second semi-final day the Nuriootpa defence was simply outstanding, led by Luke Jaunay, Aisea “Magic” Raikiwasa, veteran Shawn Gibson and Brad Hoepner, keeping the potent Tanunda for the line to meager total of six goals. The Tiger will need to produce the same defensive effort in this game.
Tanunda will be relying on ruck dominance from Angus Kurtze and their SANFL experienced midfield of Terlich, Riley McPharlane and Leigh Westhoff, along with Nathan Petersen-Gray to give them plenty of drive.
Slattery will be asking Aseri “Bobby’ Raikiwasa to do a big job in the middle competing against Kurtze.
Tanunda, for the majority of the year, have played aggressive attacking football they have been kept to modest scores in the last three contests.
They haven’t kicked 100 points in a game since round 14 against Kapunda.
They will be looking for big performances in attack by Josh Trembath and a number of goals out of their midfield contingent.
With good conditions, this match that continues a special rivalry should be an enthralling contest.
Peter’s Tip: Nuriootpa by three points.
Nuriootpa v Angaston
While the Panthers are the reigning premiers after a 23-point victory against Tanunda last year, since the 1950s the Nuriootpa Tigers have been the dominant team of the league collecting no less than 24 premierships and securing their last victory in 2010.
In the BLG era they have collected five triumphs, playing in 11 season deciders.
Angaston, before last year's victory, previously played in the 1992 final, enduring the ignominy of grand final defeat on 10 occasions at B grade level and they went against Tanunda that day, down by 25 points.
Nuriootpa collected an impressive 38-point victory over Angaston on second semi-final day but back in round 10 at Nuriootpa oval, Angaston won by two goals.
In their first meeting early this year Nuriootpa got up in another close game by eight points.
If he isn't promoted to the A grade Bart Ryan will be a key in ruck for the Tigers, while Rhyley Haynes, Mitchell Jarvis and Tommy Watson all have had strong seasons.
Nathan Salter is a creative target in attack having kicked 34 goals this year and will need to be stopped while Will Linke has also kicked 20 goals this year in the Black and Gold.
The Panthers will be looking for strong leadership from Tom Feist in defence and a lot of run from Johnny ‘JJ’ Roesler on his wing while Brayden Dalby and Dylan Tuckwell are also keys for the Panthers.
Having the rest last weekend, Nuriootpa will go in as slight favourites.
Peter's tip: Nuriootpa by 18 points.
Tanunda vs Willaston
The Tanunda Magpies, who finished second, take on the Willaston Donnybrooks who finished fourth overall in an intriguing season.
The Magpies came from behind on second semi-final day to get over minor premiers South Gawler by three goals.
During early August, in round 15 Tanunda had a strong 31-point victory over Willaston, but back in round six at Tanunda Oval these teams played out a thrilling tie, with both kicking 6.8 (44).
Each side have game breakers and A grade experience footballers; Tanunda includes Isaac Feltus, Liam Ellis and Fraser Smith.
They have strong options in attack and Dylan Birchard is the Magpies leading goal kicker with 28 majors. Henry McCabe has returned after college commitments to add to the on-ball options.
Willaston have key personnel, including strong marking forward Zac East who has kicked 48 goals this year while Brayden Wilkin, James Goddard and Aidan Pointon will also play big roles.
With their superior win-loss ratio Tanunda will be favorites.
Tanunda’s previous Senior Colts flag was in 2012, while Willaston won the crown in 2016.
Peter's tip: Tanunda by 21 points
Nuriootpa v Willaston
The teams that have won the past two premierships in juniors, the Nuri Tigers and the Willaston Donnybrooks, will face-off this Saturday at Gawler Oval.
Two weeks ago the Tigers gained direct entry with a second semi-final win against Barossa by five points.
These two teams have faced off twice in the minor round; initially back and round two Williston delivered a handsome 38-point defeated of the Tigers.
The second game was closer, but the Donnybrooks still got up by 20 points.
Kade Rohrlach who shared the Des Shanahan Medal in a three-way tie, Tyler Billing, helmeted-skipper Cooper Kalleske and Kai Rosenzweig have been ultra-consistent for the Rovers all year.
Tyler Symons, Tyson Helmers and Reuben Wilson are others to keep an eye on, while Mitchell Doecke has kicked 40 goals to be a key avenue in attack.
Man mountain Saxon Evans, with 24 goals from 11 games, is a vital component for the Donny's while Bevan Cross, Tait Stringer and Angus Arthur all of had outstanding seasons.
Dylan Jones, Kurt Gabrielsen and Lachlan Wilkin are others to keep an eye on while Tahjin Krieg popped up and slotted through four goals last week.
This game should be a close one.
Peter's tip: Willaston by 7 points.