Team Selection - Preliminary Final – Robertson Oval – Sunday
It’s crunch time. Preliminary Final. Winners go to the big dance, losers lick their wounds and reflect. No matter what the outcome at Robertson Oval, it’s amazing to have our three most senior sides competing at this stage of the year. Make no mistake, no player is satisfied. No player is happy ‘we’ve made it this far’. Every single Hoppers representative is looking to find that one percent more that will get us over the line, to put it out there for their team mate. And that’s one of the things that makes us an awesome Club.
In First Grade, the Hoppers take on Wagga Tigers, a team we haven’t beaten this year, that have taken us to task especially in the first quarter twice this season, each time a position we couldn’t quite come back from. The Tigers have speed and skill right across the park and love to get on the outside and run the opposition ragged. The Hoppers know, however, that opportunities will present and a key to the game will be to grab those moments and build on them, trust their judgement and each other and drive home the advantage when it happens.
The coaching team of Jamie Maddox, Connor Neyland and Mitch Robinson have made one change to the Hoppers side, with Nick Buchanan going down with a serious shoulder injury last week that not only keeps him out this game but is likely to rob him of his plans to get in and work hard in the gym for the first 2-3 months of the off season. Nick has had a great year and should be very proud of his maturity and relentless, persistent focus to improve his footy all season. Into the side comes Kyle Woods, rewarded for a few weeks of excellent form in Reserve Grade after returning to footy following a serious hand injury earlier in the season. Woodsy’s attack on the ball and toughness in the contest will be hugely valuable for the Hoppers this week.
There's no tighter knit side in the comp than this group of Green Men. Look for them to stand tall for each other and their Club this weekend.
The girls in green take on Collingullie – Glenfield Park in their Preliminary Final after an incredible one point win over Wagga Tigers last week, where at one stage they were down by 8 goals. The skill and will the girls displayed in front of a huge, noisy crowd at Kindra Park was amazing, and if they can take that attitude and passion into this game against the highly rated Demons, everything is possible.
Coach Claudia Barton knows they'll get their chances in this game. Their never say die attitude is incredible in this team and the pressure this creates on the opposition means the green girls will be in this contest til the final whistle.
The mighty Magoos returned to the winner’s circle last week over Mango to get a shot at a Grand Final. They’re taking on a Griffith Swans side that lost for the first time this season, being torn a new one by Gullie last week in a fairly surprising margin. They’ll be primed. They’ll be annoyed. They’ll want to join their first grade side for the following week. Meanwhile, there’s no pressure on our boys. We haven’t beaten the Swans this season, even though we pushed them for three quarters in both hit outs. The start will be critical. If the men in green can get up and about early, look for the experience of Ben Edyvean, Ryan Maslin and the Robbo boys, plus the sheer will of Tommy Besgrove and Jaz Edyvean to drive the Hoppers home.
Coaches Daniel Crocker and Shaun Bradley have made two changes to the Hoppers side from last week’s team, with Ryan Chamberlain going down with a calf strain and Kyle Woods promoted to the senior team. Into the side returns Ryan Maslin after a couple of weeks out with an ankle injury suffered at training, as well as Heath Petty, who has been away for a few weeks with work. This is it boys. Leave nothing in the tank!