ESSENDON and the Southern Saints have each named unchanged teams for Sunday’s rebel VFLW Grand Final at ETU Stadium as they put their faith in the players who got them to the Big Dance.
The Bombers had the option to recall quality players such as defender Nicole Julian, Eleanor Cornish, Jessie Davies and Lauren Caruso but have stuck with the team that thrashed Casey Demons by 11 goals in the second semi-final a fortnight ago, with those women all named as emergencies.
Meanwhile, the Saints have named Ebony Nixon as an emergency as she just falls short of recovering from a facial fracture in time, with Amelia Peck also being unlucky not to force her way back into the line-up.
The game starts at 12.15pm and can be seen on Channel 7 from 12pm or heard on www.warfradio.com or 89.1FM at the ground from 11am for an all-inclusive 75-minute pre-match, with an AFL 9s exhibition match also taking place as a curtain raiser.
Here are the selected teams for the rebel VFLW Grand Final.
1.ESSENDON (14-0-2) v 2.SOUTHERN SAINTS (12-4-1)
Sunday, July 3, 12.15pm @ ETU Stadium
(www.warfradio.com.au, 11am; Channel 7, 12pm)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Southern Saints 3-1-1. At ETU Stadium: Never Met. Streak: Essendon 1½ (last loss February 28, 2021). This season: Essendon 5.6 36 def Southern Saints 4.2 26 (Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval, May 21, 2022); Essendon 7.4 46 drew Southern Saints 7.4 46 (NEC Hangar, March 13, 2022)
Brendan Rhodes’ says
It all comes down to this. The Bombers have been dominant team throughout the whole season, coming into the Grand Final undefeated with only two draws blotting the copybook, plus two record finals victories to qualify.
But the Saints earned one of those two draws and pushed Essendon all the way only six weeks ago.
The confidence they’ve gained from beating higher-ranked opposition in three consecutive weeks, two of them on their home grounds, will be invaluable as well.
How can the Saints stop the Bombers’ all-powerful forward line – a group that includes Rohenna Young medallist Federica Frew (33 goals), runner-up Mia-Rae Clifford (21) and top-10 finishers Cecilia McIntosh (18), Renee Tierney (16) and Grace Dicker (12)? St Kilda draftee and Saints skipper Deanna Jolliffe, Grace Buchan, Alex Hynes and Georgia McLean will have a lot to say about it.
The midfield battle of Essendon’s Georgia Nanscawen, newly-drafted breakout star Amelia Radford, Jordan Zanchetta and Joanne Doonan versus draftee Hannah Stuart, former Bomber Rebecca Neaves, winger Winnie Laing and Madi Capsalis will be vital, as will the ruck showdown of Simone Nalder versus Sarah Black.
At the Saints’ end, Tayla Kearns, Chanelle Slater, Gabriella De Angelis, Olivia Flanagan and Kayla Ripari will look to kick a winning score against Alex Morcom, Bella Clarke, Eloise Ashley-Cooper, Danielle Marshall and Kendra Heil.
Essendon deserves to start a clear favourite, but it would be unwise to write off these Saints.
Prediction: Essendon by 17
Brendan Rhodes’ winners: Last Round: 0. Season: 73
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