Slow start, but Cudgewa motor into grand final

Troy Cooper

Troy Cooper

THE Cudgewa juggernaut is rolling ruthlessly towards September glory after a 38-point mauling of Corryong in its second semi-final at Cudgewa on Saturday.

The impressive 15.17 (107) to 11.3 (69) victory not only secured the Blues their third grand final appearance in the past four years, it also re-established their flag favouritism as they look to snap a 14-year premiership drought.

Corryong could be without livewire Troy Cooper for the preliminary final against Bullioh after he was reported by three umpires for striking Blues defender Dane Arthur with less than two minutes left.

Coach Andrew Reid (shoulder), key forward Russell Anderson (ankle) and utility James Paton (leg) could also be in doubt.

Cudgewa lost defender Jake Carkeek after a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

Blues coach Bill Deery was ecstatic to take the direct route into the decider and secure the home ground advantage.

“We were a bit sluggish early but we knuckled down to come away with the win,” he said.

“The 32 scoring shots to 14 was probably a fair indication of our dominance.

“We ended up kicking 17 behinds and probably 10 of them were set shots we should have converted.

“I thought our back six was outstanding and our average points against is just over 50.

“You need a strong defence to win grand finals.”

Demons forward Adrian Rijnbeek threatened to tear the match apart early with four first-quarter goals, but Arthur held him to just three more.

Cudgewa giant Jim Cleven made a welcome return from overseas to boot five goals while Ben Hall was also a surprise inclusion after a broken jaw in round 11 and finished with 3.7.

Deery said he a slight leaning towards Bullioh in the preliminary final.

“History says whoever loses the second semi struggles to make the grand final,” he said.

“Corryong looks to have its fair share of injury concerns.

“I just think they might be a bit heavy in the legs, have a few injuries so I have a slight leaning towards Bullioh.

“A week off is going to do us the world of good so I’m just looking forward to watching and waiting to see who we play.”

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