PRESSURE: Red Cliffs’ Jake Liston tries to fend off Ouyen United’s Josiah Farrer in last week’s SFNL semi-final. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
By MITCH RODD
OUYEN United still hold no fears for Red Cliffs if the Tigers can make next week’s SFNL grand final.
The Kangas took down the Tigers in last week’s semi-final by 40 points, following their 84 point demolition two weeks before in the last round of the home and away season.
Ouyen are now into their third consecutive SFNL grand final, while Red Cliffs come up against Irymple in tomorrow’s preliminary final.
Red Cliffs co-coach Ash Connick believed his side matched it with Ouyen for most of the game, but were let down by their execution in front of goals.
“We’re good enough to go further if we play to our best,” he said.
“If you forget the last 10 minutes of the game, both teams had equal patches of good footy. The biggest difference was they made the most of their opportunities, while we missed out. I think we kicked 4.10 after quarter time. We felt we should have been in front at half time.”
It was a bruising affair at Robinvale’s John James Oval last week, with some of the multiple collisions in contests likely to have made a mark on the Richter scale.
Connick, however, quashed theories that Red Cliffs players were directed to physically target their Ouyen counterparts.
“(We were) Just a footy team hell bent on applying pressure. It wasn’t a directive or a plan to go out and target their players like we’ve heard some people say, it was a team that was just desperate to make a grand final,” he said.
“We have got some aggressive players that are hard at the footy, and so do Ouyen. We’ll be looking to apply that same sort of pressure against Irymple this weekend.
“If we can play at our best, and it will take our best, we can definitely make the grand final. Irymple are a quality side who’ve had a few years together now and are full of really good footballers. It will be a tough game but hopefully we can make it through to a grand final.
“I think the tough hit-out will hold us in good stead. It was good to get another game into Jake (Liston) and Myles (Warmington) who had missed a bit of footy. A few of the guys probably performed below their own expectations but they’ll be fired up this weekend because a place in the grand final is on offer.”
While there were some sore bodies post-game, Connick said there were no injury concerns. He said that fellow co-coach Brian Fenton would play after experiencing tightness in his back following his dominant first half against the Kangas.
“I think Brian had 15 disposals in the first quarter but then his back seized up a little which meant he wasn’t able to move as freely in those important second and third quarters,” Connick said.
“I think it was a bit of a freak occurrence, someone just landed on his back the wrong way. Look out if he gets to play four full quarters of football.”
Red Cliffs face Irymple at City Oval from 2.30pm tomorrow.