Brigades enter semi against Norths with winning form behind them in possible grand final preview
The Great Northern Football League’s top two go head to head tomorrow in a second semifinal that’s a likely preview of the grand final in two weeks.
The league’s two highest goal kickers will be on show and it’s likely to be a matter of which side, Brigades or Northampton, has more depth on the list.
Goal scoring talent might be key, and Brigades have more, with Dale Williamson back from injury with six majors and a best-on-ground last round. Williamson has 67 goals for the season, Kaiden Dann has 36, Jayden Schofield 25, and Ben O’Brien 23.
Jack Deschamp, Graham Sandy, David Little, Jordan O’Brien and Jamie Ryder each have more than 10.
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Stars include Deschamp, Hayden Johnson, O’Brien, Kim and Jayden Schofield, Williamson and, in his four games, Little.
Norths have been lit up by Harry Taylor, who has a league-high 83 goals.
Nathaniel Mourambine is two goals short of 300 and has a respectable 38 for the season, while Trent Simpson has 29 — but contributions drop off more sharply than Brigades after that. Norths have strength in playing coach Beau Walker, top ruckman Flynn Dillon, Ethan Brown, Braden Jupp and Trent Simpson.
Kieron Harris and Michael Wright have also shone.
But Brigades look the stronger side overall and are on top on the form table, too.
They’re on a 10-game winning run, while Norths have won seven of their past eight — the loss was to Brigades. The sides have met only once before in a second semi, in 1979 — it was a loss for Brigades.
The Hawks simply have more ability to put points on the board and more depth across the park, and are good value to reverse that historic loss with a win.
Rovers will play Railways at Warren Taylor Homes Recreation Ground on Sunday.
Much will depend on which Rovers turn up.
They have arguably the GNFL’s best list, but there’s an injury cloud over ball-winner Jaimon Alone.
Justin Crudeli has most goals — 35 — but they will miss an injured Farren Parfitt. Jamie Koric has 17 goals, Dwayne Nevill 16, and Joe Ugle, Dylan Curley, Jack Eastough and Gabriel Parfitt 10 or more.
Best player listings also feature Curley, Jamie Geier, Anthony Kyanga, Gabriel Parfitt and Chris Scott, with Shannon Cox a proven finals player.
Railways have suffered a major blow, with Ben Saunders — who’s worked hard in the ruck — suspended for a week along with leading goal kicker Elliot Delaney (42 goals), who has been suspended for three weeks. Jesse Adamini (30 goals) has starred, while Jack Cocking, Elijah Burrows, Stuart Egan and Shaedan Edwards have 10 or more.
Mitchell Boyle, Matt Kimberley and Drew Tunbridge are game changers.
Amazingly, as between them they’ve contested 34 first semis, this will be their first against each other.
My tips: Brigades to beat Northampton tomorrow. Rovers to beat Railways on Sunday.
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