Preview: Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham
The final round of the TAC Cup season takes place this weekend when the Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons battle for a top four spot.
One win separates these two sides at third and fifth on the ladder. A victory for the Dragons could force the Chargers down the ladder due to percentage and thus provide a double chance for the finals.
The two teams last met in Round 8 where Oakleigh defeated Sandringham by 30 points. However, Oakleigh Coach Justin Wenke believes that this contest will scarcely resemble that encounter.
“I think you will see two totally different teams this week with both regions having their private schoolers available. We were really pleased with our team defensive efforts and ability to move the ball quickly and effectively to our forwards. We achieve all our desired KPI which was pleasing for the group.”
The Chargers will be fielding a varied side this weekend, but one that they believe will put forward a very strong performance.
“We expect to put out a competitive team this week. Chris Prowse our ruckman will play after he played as a 23rd player with VFL team Port Melbourne last week against the Bendigo Gold where he rucked against David Hille. We have lost a few players to injury from last game being Luke McDonald and Caleb Veering but we think our list has pretty good depth and this gives someone else an opportunity to step up and play their role for the team.”
Wenke has faith in his side, that the hard yards they have contributed during the year will give the team their desired result.
“This week is about us and what we do well and have being doing effectively during the last six weeks of football.
“Our team has gathered real confidence throughout the season by performing well in tight hard fought contests.
“We believe our playing group has developed a strong cohesion and is prepared to work hard together to achieve their desired result,” Wenke said.
The Sandringham Dragons enter this Round 17 contest at the top of their game, having just knocked off the Gippsland Power. However, Coach Justin Plapp understands that Oakleigh will provide just as much of a challenge as the Power did.
“The last time we met Oakleigh they were fantastic in all areas of the game, particularly their strong tackling and contested possession. Over the past few years Sandringham and Oakleigh have had a very healthy rivalry and it should be an entertaining contest with a fair bit on the line.”
Unlike Oakleigh, Sandringham has selected an established team that have proven their ability to perform together.
“We will shape up pretty well in regards to injuries this week. We lost Joel McKee who was a really important part of our group to a serious knee injury two weeks ago, but apart from him we will go into the game basically unchanged from our game last week against Gippsland.”
Plapp understands the significance of this final round match from both the Club and players viewpoint.
“From an organisation/program perspective a top four spot is really important, but it’s not our main focus going into the game. We have a number of different areas we want to be really strong in, and we believe if we can achieve these measures/focus area's the result will take care of its self.
“From a players point of view a top four spot allows the players to showcase themselves in games where the intensity and quality of football obviously increases, so the top four spot allows that extra week for the players to do this,” Plapp said.
Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham Dragons
Saturday 25th August – 2pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh