FINALS fever has sprung with the top four teams in the Griffith and District Football Association battling as the competition reaches the business end of the season.
Yoogali FC will take on Leeton United in tomorrow night’s elimination semi-final before Hanwood FC tackles Yoogali SC in Sunday’s preliminary semi.
HFC and YSC have been the two stand-out teams of the competition this season, but will have YFC and Leeton snapping on their heels after winning their way through a compact ladder to earn their place in the finals series.
“It’s a new competition now when we’re talking finals and it’s do-or-die now,” YFC coach Rocky Marando said.
“If we don’t put in a good performance on the night that’s the end of our season.
“Especially when it’s third versus fourth in an elimination game it is like a grand final itself.”
Marando’s team has come away with all three points in both of the two sides clashes this season.
“We’ve been undefeated for the last two months so we do take a bit of confidence out of the fact that we’ve beaten them twice this year already,” he said.
“I think their coach has done a great job this year, they play a nice, possession-based game of football and do it really well, so it will be a tough match, but one that we are looking forward to.”
United coach Mitchell Clay is adamant his side can reverse the outcome, particularly after the 2-0 loss the team suffered to YFC last month, which he described as “unlucky”.
“We are going in confident, I was only available for that last time we played them and we were very unlucky to lose with a controversial goal,” Clay said.
“I didn’t think they offered too much, so we can go out there and beat them.
“We are in a good run at the minute and we have had to play the last three games as cup finals because we knew we had to win and now that we’ve made the finals we’ve still got to keep that intensity.
“We’ve been working towards this moment, playing in the finals, and now that we’ve made it it’s up for anybody as we know anything can happen in the finals.”
YFC striker Jordan Lando, Aaron Sergi and Marando are struggling with injury and all will have to undergo a fitness test to take their place in tomorrow night’s clash.
“There’s a couple of injury concerns and they will undergo a fitness test (on Thursday night), but we will probably give those two guys right up until kick-off to prove their fitness,” Marando said.
“If they are 100 per cent fit I would like to get them back out onto the pitch as they are two key players for our team.
“But in saying that I’m really proud of the depth in the squad this season, there have been a couple of guys step up from reserve grade and excelled.
“We’ve had a lot of under 18s step up as well and last week we had two, in Michael Perre and Jazier Sergi, who played a full game each and played very well.”
In contrast to the uncertainty over YFC’s line-up, Leeton will be at full strength.
“We’ve been working on a few tactical things at training,” Clay said, “but apart from that I think it will be an interesting game.
“I imagine it will be end-to-end and it will be one of those games where you are going to have to take your chances when you get them.”