Wahgunyah set for top three finish after strong finish to Tallangatta League season

Alex Wallis has booted 15 goals in 16 games for the Lions this season. Picture: MARK JESSER
Alex Wallis has booted 15 goals in 16 games for the Lions this season. Picture: MARK JESSER

Wahgunyah will return to the Tallangatta League finals for the first time since 2011 after Saturday’s last round meeting with Dederang-Mount Beauty at home.

But more importantly, a victory will secure them a spot in the top three, most likely second, giving them two chances to win a final for the first time since crossing to the league in 2008.

Kiewa-Sandy Creek (KSC) sits above them on percentage in second place, but faces a tougher task against the fourth-placed Rutherglen, which should allow the Lions to get the required percentage to jump to second.

Wahgunyah finished third in 2011, but was bundled out in straight sets to Mitta United and Kiewa-Sandy Creek.

Lions’ coach Brett Skinner admitted there is a buzz around the club after a terrific season thus far.

“We set ourselves to play finals and I think overall everyone is pretty happy,” Skinner said.

“I think we’ll finish second regardless (on percentage), which is good, but we just want to be playing well and win our first one (final).”

The biggest question is can they beat the league’s best sides at the business end, after suffering losses to Thurgoona, KSC and Mitta during the season, while splitting the head-to-head against Rutherglen.

“We think that our best is more than capable, especially at Sandy Creek,” Skinner said.

“When we met those sides it was before the midway point of the year and we played them all back-to-back.

“We then rolled over into Rutherglen and beat them by a couple goals and that was probably the turning point and we haven’t dropped a game since then.

“We’re young and quick and want to be able to move the footy well, be pretty free-flowing and just back ourselves.”

Skinner admitted there is a bit of pressure to perform on the big stage, but admits his side put the pressure on themselves to win their last seven games to make the top three, which is exactly what they’ve done.

Rutherglen and Kiewa-Sandy Creek will meet for a spot in the top three.

Thurgoona travels to Barnawartha to face the Tigers.

Mitta United should be too strong for Chiltern in what will be Brent Newton’s final game as Swans coach.

Tallangatta will look to finish on a high against Wodonga Saints, while arch rivals Beechworth and Yackandandah clash at Beechworth where the Bushrangers will farewell outgoing coach Nic Barnes.