Key inclusions boost Royals’ flag chances

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Royals coach James McRae has declared forward pair Sam Baddeley-Holmes and Taylor Powell fit to play against North Albany in the Great Southern Football League grand final at Centennial Stadium on Sunday.

Baddeley-Holmes has not played since the Lions’ 20-point round 15 loss to the Kangas, while Powell injured his shoulder in the first quarter of last Sunday’s preliminary final.

McRae heaped the pressure on the Kangas, who are gunning for their fourth-straight flag, saying it was their game to lose.

“This is one they shouldn’t lose — the pressure is on them,” he said.

Key midfielder Dave Parker is the only player not available for the Lions and McRae said his side were excited about the opportunity to play in a grand final.

“We’re keen to get out there and play — we’re in some good form after the weekend and we will be all guns blazing come Sunday,” he said

The Kangas thumped the Lions by 82 points when the sides played in the second semifinal two weeks ago, but McRae said the inclusion of targets Peter Mark, Cameron Smith and Baddeley-Holmes would bolster their forward line.

“The only disappointing thing about that game was the scoreboard — we had more inside 50s than them,” he said.

“We just couldn’t score.

“Hopefully with those blokes in, we will be able to get some scoreboard pressure on early.” Kangas coach Craig Dew said his side were wary of the Lions’ form after their 23-point win against Mt Barker in the preliminary final.

“I’d say we’re cautiously optimistic rather than confident,” he said

“Royals played really well against Mt Barker, and having Smith and Mark gave them more targets in their forward line, so they’re in good form after the weekend.

“If they bring in Baddeley-Holmes too, they now have three targets up there so it’s a different line-up to when we played them.”

The Kangas are expected to field an unchanged line-up from the second semifinal, with Dew indicating his side had no injuries.

“We go in fully fit with no injuries, so we should have an unchanged side,” he said.

“We have a game plan that we believe in and we think stands up.”

Dew said the group had discussed the significance of winning a fourth-straight premiership for the club.

“It’s something we as a group want to achieve and be part of,” he said.

“There are some blokes who will have played in all four, so that’s pretty significant.”

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails