Sore Kangas prepare for full-strength Bulls

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
North Albany's Jack McPhee has been declared a certain starter in the preliminary final despite hamstring concerns.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Jack McPhee has been declared a certain starter in the preliminary final despite hamstring concerns. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

North Albany coach Craig Dew believes the Kangas’ three lopsided wins over Mt Barker this season will not count for much when the two clubs clash in the preliminary final at Collingwood Park on Sunday.

The Bulls have lost all three clashes with the defending premiers this season by an average of 74 points, but Dew was wary this Sunday would be the first time they had taken on the club at full strength.

The task of reaching the grand final the long way after their second semifinal loss to Railways last Saturday did not concern the Kangas coach.

“We have never played them when they have their best team available all year and clearly on the weekend that was their best team,” Dew said.

“Looking at their forward line it is really strong, so we will need to limit their supply.

“Going the long way home doesn’t frighten us. We don’t mind playing every week — it keeps us up and about. It is a bit of a double-edged sword though, as the downside is you can get injuries.”

Dew said doubts around Jack McPhee were unfounded, with the key utility only experiencing hamstring tightness in the second semifinal and a certain starter.

Dew said key forward Luke Cameron would have to prove he was 100 per cent fit and recovered from a hamstring strain to take his place in the side.

Bulls coach Brad Hook said he was also reading little into the home and away results, with his side more than likely also to go into the clash unchanged.

The Bulls have reached a grand final and preliminary final in the past two seasons as they chase their first league premiership since 1996.

In his first season as coach, Hook said his forward line would hold the key. Veteran Dionne Woods has booted 15 goals in his past three matches since being swung forward permanently and looms as a headache for the Kangas, already needing to quell the influence of Kym Monteath, Daniel Parker and the returning Jordon Reid.

“We think we have the most dangerous forward line in the comp — we just have to get it down there,” Hook said.

“We just have to win the midfield to get it into our forwards and they will do their thing. Every time we have played them we have been nowhere near our best 22.

“We really need to win the contested footy against North Albany and stop their spread — that’s where they have got us.

“As soon as they get their hands on it and they handball it out and they are off and running, and we really need to stop that to get on top of them.” In the lower grades, North Albany will clash with Railways in the reserves, Royals take on Railways in the colts and North Albany host Albany in the 16s.

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