GNFL grand final: Brigades and Railways to battle it out for league premiership glory

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Brigades' captain Mick Quick and Railways' Ben Saunders hold the cup.
Camera IconBrigades' captain Mick Quick and Railways' Ben Saunders hold the cup. Credit: Geraldton Guardian, Reuben Carder

The heavyweight clash to finish the GNFL season will be decided between a team coming off 11 wins in a row and another which has found form when it matters most.

Brigades and Railways will vie for the 2021 Great Northern Football League premiership at WA Country Builders Stadium on Sunday. Brigades are coming off 11 successive wins with a hard-to-fault player list in a team that’s faced every challenge with increasing confidence.

They lost their first two hard games but have since won seven of seven against other top-four sides, including a 50-point second-semi win over Northampton.

“We’re ready to go, no injury concerns or any sore players and focussed on the task ahead,” Brigades coach Cory Foot said.

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“We’ve had a big month on and off the field and aim to finish on a high.” Foot feels his men can contain Railways’ quality midfield.

“We can match their midfield depth, every side has great midfielders but it’s whether you can pressure their disposals,” Foot said.

“I can’t say now (Thursday morning at the time of writing) who’ll be in our 22, anything could happen between now and Sunday, right now we’re working on getting (East Fremantle development player) Jed Hagan to play.

“What I will ask for on Sunday is controlled focus, don’t overthink it.” Dale Williamson has 69 goals followed by Kaiden Dann (38) and Jayden Schofield (25).

Jack Deschamp, Jamie Ryder, David Little, Graham Sandy and Ben and Jordan O’Brien have in excess of 10. Best players include Deschamp, Hayden Johnson, Dann, Kim and Jayden Schofield, Williamson, Izac Ronan, Jesse Casselton, Ryder, Ben O’Brien and if available, Hagan. Railways went into the finals with three successive losses against other top-four teams but beat two of them in finals.

They lack suspended forward Elliot Delaney but Jesse Adamini (34 goals), Jack Cocking (27), and Shaedan Edwards (21) have shone and Mitch Boyle, Ben Saunders, Elijah Burrows and Stuart Egan have 10 or more goals.

Best players feature Boyle, Adamini, Drew Tunbridge, Matt Kimberley, Saunders, Noah Cachard and Tom Clough.

“We had the toughest run into the finals of the top four but I always said that would let us identify areas for improvement,” Railways coach Karl Pirrottina said. “Those improvements worked in the finals we’ve played and made us finals-match hardened.

“There are only a couple of possible changes — Nathan Tubby and (West Coast WAFL player) Jarrod Garlett will be considered.

“Kyle Watts returned for the second half last week after what seemed a serious injury and was crucial in several one-on-one contests and will play on Williamson.

“Our effort in finals last year and this year shows we can play winning footy — belief is a big thing, and we believe.”

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