The game’s best forward is standing between Albury regaining its title as the league powerhouse.
Wangaratta captain Michael Newton kicked six goals in Sunday’s 30-point preliminary final win over Wodonga Raiders at the Albury Sportsground.
“It’s pretty awesome when your big full forward comes out, he might be 45m out on the junction and goes back and slots it,” team-mate Jamie Anderson said.
“It’s deflating for the other team as well, they think ‘how do we stop that? We can’t do anything’.
“As a backman it rewards your work.”
In his last three finals games, dating back to last year’s grand final, the 31-year-old has now kicked 20 majors.
He destroyed Albury in the decider with a Did Simpson Medal-winning eight goals in the stunning 21-point upset.
He missed this year’s qualifying final loss to Raiders through suspension, but has now rattled off successive bags of six against Yarrawonga and Raiders.
“He doesn’t miss and that’s the difference,” Raiders’ coach Daryn Cresswell said.
“Zach Rouse did a pretty good job on him I thought.”
Zach’s twin brother Jordan started on the spearhead, but was moved after two minutes of the second quarter when the former Melbourne AFL forward landed a wonderful captain’s goal.
After Newton tore apart the undersized Simon Thomas in the grand final, the Tigers moved specifically to quell this year’s Doug Strang medallist by recruiting former Wodonga Raiders’ big man Dean Heta, while six-time premiership fullback Michael Thompson returned from injury.
Of course, Wangaratta is far from a one-man side, as evidenced by the premiership.
The Pies are regaining the form which took it to the title and Newton’s form will have the Tigers’ match committee working overtime.
Wangaratta will host Albury in Sunday’s grand final at the Norm Minns Oval.
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