Barnawartha coach KADE BUTTERS caught-up with The Border Mail's BRENT GODDE to answer the tough questions and give his insights into Sunday's first semi-final between Beechworth and Chiltern.
BRENT GODDE: You played Chiltern last weekend in the elimination final, how did you rate the Swans' performance?
KADE BUTTERS: I thought we matched them in the first-quarter and knew we had to replicate that sort of pressure for the rest of the match. But unfortunately we couldn't and when you don't, a quality side like Chiltern makes you pay. They are the reigning premier, beat Kiewa-Sandy Creek a couple of weeks ago and are finding their best form at the business end of the season. If they produce something similar against Beechworth, I can see the Swans at least making the preliminary final.
BG: Barton medallist Scottie Meyer returned for the Swans after missing the previous two weeks and it seems like he doesn't know how to play a bad game after he once again dominated?
KB: Scottie is obviously a big unit but he is also smart around the contest and has got a fantastic footy brain. His tap work is second to none and he can palm the ball in the path of his midfielders or if there is an extra man up in the contest for the opposition he gets the ball out wider. So to have a classy ruckman like that running around at Sandy Creek is a massive advantage and why anyone facing the Swans in September would be nervous.
BG: What did impress you the most about the Swans in the end?
KB: Probably their smaller players and their forward line, like the two Cooper boys. They keep moving and presenting in attack and use the ball well. Down back Fin Lappin seems to be getting better every time I see him play and has the ability to nullify one of the opposition's best forwards but still gets plenty of the ball himself and provides a lot of rebound from that back half.
BG: Do you think the Bushrangers' confidence would have taken a massive hit after last weekend's 10-goal plus spanking against Yackandandah?
KB: I don't think it would, you just address the loss and move on as quickly as you can and focus on this weekend against Chiltern. Beechworth just need to recover as best they can physically because it was a warm day last Saturday and Lachie Armstrong and Connor Stone both looked a bit sore and finished the match on the interchange.
BG: Tom Cartledge was also reported and will face the tribunal on Friday night. Can you see the Bushrangers winning if their inspirational co-coach gets rubbed out and Armstrong misses with a leg injury?
KB: The short answer is no. Tom is still one of the Bushrangers' biggest possession winners and Armstrong their main avenue to goal. I don't think they have got the depth to cover two big outs like that.
BG: Did last weekend's result prove that Beechworth is vulnerable on a fast deck at Sandy Creek compared to playing in the mud on their home ground during the depths of winter?
KB: Beechworth has got their fair share of classy players but the bigger ground at Sandy Creek doesn't seem to suit them as much and they have now lost their past three finals at the ground. Personally I don't think the Bushrangers boast the same amount of depth as Kiewa, Yackandandah and Chiltern and get exposed when the blowtorch is applied during the heat of a final.
BG: Kayde Surrey is regarded as the premier defender in the competition but spent a lot of time forward last weekend in his first match since round nine. Will he be better for the hit-out?
KB: You would think so but form is not like a light switch that you can just flick on and off and spending almost three months on the sidelines and coming back for a final is a tough gig. Kayde plays such a crucial role for his side and is such a fantastic player to watch as he proved during last year's finals series. You get the feeling he will need to produce something similar on Sunday for the Bushrangers to win.
BG: Do you think the Swans can afford the luxury of playing Kyle 'Gaz' Cooper predominantly forward similar to last weekend even though he is their best midfielder?
KB: Kyle moves up the ground well and is so strong overhead, so I can see why Brad Hibberson plays his trump card in attack. Kyle also finds space and is a classy finisher and the Swans boast plenty of midfield depth so they have got a lot of flexibility to keep the opposition guessing.
BG: Who are you tipping and why?
KB: I think Chiltern boasts superior leg speed which will be a telling factor as the match wears on and I'm tipping the Swans to win by 21-points.
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