Yoogali clubs ready for demolition derby

WATCH YOUR BACK: YFC's Archie Watkins looks to turn the corner as YSC's Hudson Fanani tracks his run in last year's Yoogali derby. The two clubs will lock horns on Sunday at EW Moore Oval with top spot on the line. Picture: Anthony Stipo

WATCH YOUR BACK: YFC's Archie Watkins looks to turn the corner as YSC's Hudson Fanani tracks his run in last year's Yoogali derby. The two clubs will lock horns on Sunday at EW Moore Oval with top spot on the line. Picture: Anthony Stipo

Football

IT battered its way into the Billabong Cup top two - now Yoogali FC is ready to dish out further punishment against its most bitter rival.

The two Yoogalis will be at war again on Sunday as the in-form YFC takes on defending champions Yoogali SC in yet another blockbuster derby at EW Moore Oval.

After belting Hanwood FC into submission at the weekend with a furious, physical opening period in which two-footed lunges were the norm, not the exception, YFC's coaching director Peter Jennings has promised to replicate an approach he believes Yoogali SC will not enjoy.

"I don't think they'll respond well (to physicality)," Jennings told The Area News.

"It threw (Hanwood) off their game a little bit - that would be what we'd like to produce on the park.

"But it's going to be a different game altogether.

"They've got a very good midfield that works very well and they tend to find a bit more space around the flanks.

"We've still got to play controlled football and they've got to be disciplined on the park."

No matter what they bring to the table, Yoogali SC coach Sante Donadel promises his side will be prepared.

While he wasn’t on hand to watch YFC’s 2-0 win over Hanwood, he has heard plenty about how they pulled off the breakthrough result.

Both goals came through Archie Watkins, who headed home corner kicks in the first and second half.

Donadel knows YSC cannot win an aerial battle against Watkins and the rest of Yoogali FC’s towering Fijian stars.

“Obviously they play to their strengths and their strengths are the physical side of it, and when the ball’s in the air,” he said.

“If it’s like that, I don’t want to try and match them.

“We have to just make sure that we’re ready at set pieces so we can defend them properly, and we can’t give away too many free kicks in those danger areas.

“We really don’t have very many physical players in our team - we’re more similar to Hanwood.

“But we’ve got a few quick blokes in our team so if we can move the ball quickly enough, the physical side comes out of it straight away.

“They’ll have to catch us to bring us down.”

Donadel’s side is coming off the bye last round and while he said the week off has refreshed the squad, he has lost the competition’s best player.

Derek McKechnie has returned to Scotland for a brief trip and will not be back until after the June long weekend.

YFC have their own availability concerns - Malakai Tiwa is suspended after accruing his third yellow card for the year while Sam Kautoga, Uraia Loki and Rocky Marando all have hamstring injuries.

“We’re a little bit understrength, but there’s a really good mood around the place, knowing our first-grade side is undefeated,” Jennings said.

“The whole club is feeling it, right through.”

Donadel is hopeful whatever referee is assigned to the match is not afraid to use his cards to make sure there is no repeat of the scenes that marred Sunday’s game, where YFC and Hanwood players were engaged in a tackling free-for-all that could have quite easily taken a turn for the worse.

“The referee determines how the game goes in that respect because (sometimes) it doesn’t become a game of soccer, it becomes about revenge,” he said.

“Players take things differently. I can only tell them so much but when they’re out there, it’s up to them to play the game.”


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