The big game will be played as a curtain raiser to the AFL Grand Final at the MCG.
A terrific weekend of weather for week one of the TAC Cup Under 18 final series. Dandenong Stingrays played the Western Jets in the first elimination final on Saturday with the Stingrays winning by 39 points.
The Stingrays had too much class up forward for the Jets with smallman Ricky Morris kicking 6 goals and wiry youngster Anthony Raso kicking 5. The Jets were best served by the strong marking Wayde Twomey and lithe ruckman Andrew Lorimer.
Game 2 was a terrific game between the Oakleigh Chargers and Gippsland Power in a qualifying final. Gippsland led all day only to be overun by the Chargers in the final quarter and lose by 16 points.
The Chargers were best served by James Barton, who kept Gippsland gun Dean Polo quiet and Adrian Bonaddio who had a huge last quarter taking a number of strong marks and coverting them into goals. Gippsland's Andrew McQualter won a heap of the footy in the midfield due to the excellent ruckwork of team-mate Stephen Foster.
A big weekend ahead for the Under 18 TAC Cup competition with the start of their finals series. All games are to be played at Optus Oval with the Dandenong Stingrays playing the Western Jets and the Oakleigh Chargers playing Gippsland Power on Saturday.
On Sunday the Calder Cannons play the Eastern Ranges and the Geelong Falcons play the Sandringham Dragons.
This year's final series is as open as it has been for many years with every team a real chance of going all the way. The Calder Cannons dominated the first half of the year but have dropped back to the field in the latter part. All the metropolitan teams will be boosted by the addition of all their private school players and in almost all cases will be at full strength for the first time for the year.
North Ballarat capped off a fine home and away season by winning their 11th game at a rain soaked Cramer Street Oval.
The skill level of the roosters was the difference between the 2 sides, with North Ballarat players often gaining more yardage with their kicks in a game were goals were at a premium.
Yet again the bullants tried very hard, but were unable to hold out North Ballarat. Aided by the strong breeze blowing towards the Cramer Street end of the ground, they kicked 3 goals in a match winning 3rd quarter burst.
Whenever the wind blows towards the Cramer Street end you know that it's going to be a bitterly cold day. At one stage in the final quarter all but 1 North Ballarat player was wearing long sleeves.
On a day when best players were hard to find on both sides, Brett Zorzi and Jon McCormick were fine contributers for the Bullants. Zorzi kicked the only goal of the day against the breeze after a poor kick in.
Down back Brett Maloney was almost unbeatable for the roosters. For a big man Moloney played the conditions superbly and never gave the smaller bullant forwards much of a look in.
The roosters spilt the game open with a brilliant snap goal from Garth Taylor and a solo effort from Nathan Saunders who was aided by opponent Murray Boyd slipping over.
Bullants coach Barry Mitchell blasted Boyd at 3 quarter time for his choice of moulded souls, with Mitchell saying that sometimes players have to put up with playing with sore feet.
Taking a 19 point lead into the final change Nth Ballarat were almost ensured of a win but the home side fought the game right out.
After scoring just 1 goal in their last 5 quarters, the bullants managed 2 in the last thanks to some clever work from Saad Saad. Saad kicking 1 himself and setting up another for David Clarke.
It was a long day for all but imparticular Saad as he played the first half of the reserves game. He came into the Bullants side as a replacement for Ricky Mott.
The Coburg Tigers have taken another step towards securing a top 4 position by defeating the Northern Bullants at a rain soaked Coburg City Oval.
Heavy showers marred the clash with the game becoming a slog as players faced some of the worst weather conditions of the 2004 season.
After half time the Tigers were first to the ball and just too strong for the depleted Bullants line up. Matthew Hyde and Mark Janz both made their debuts for the Bullants, with Hyde playing a serviceable game while Janz had little game time.
Of concern for the Tigers is the report of Mark Coughlan who was reported for striking direct opponent Josh Vansittart. Vansittart had the better of Coughlan but it was Coughlan who set the tone of the 2nd half with a soccered goal from 20 metres out early in the 3rd term.
On a brighter note Andrew Raines was very impressive. On a day when players could have been forgiven for slipping over, his ability to keep his "feet" was a highlight.
For the Bullants Callan Beasy worked tirelessly and several others tried hard but injuries have tested the Bullants depth. Testimoney to the club's long injury list was the sight of assistant coach Peter Dean wearing the number 60 out of the goal square in the early game.
Only 3 points seperated the sides at the last change but a superb running goal from ruckman Ben Marsh deflated any hopes of a Bullant recovery.