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WITH the benefit of hindsight, it seems inevitable
that these two teams would be the ones to duke
it out for the 2023 South West District Football
League premiership, with Cavendish and
Coleraine to face off tomorrow at Hanlon Park for
all the glory.
The two sides separated themselves from the pack
early in the season and from there it was more or less
a two-horse race to see who could claim the minor
premiership, with the Maroons able to get the best of
the Bloods in their round 15 matchup to secure top
The results so far in their four prior head-to-head
matches this season demonstrate just how evenlymatched they are, with each team having won two
games, and three out of four clashes decides by four
goals or less.
Coleraine coach Ryan McClure said his group
certainly doesn’t have to be reminded of the
significance of this occasion, adding that they’re
going into it with a must-win mindset.
“It’s pretty clear amongst the group that just getting
here isn’t good enough, we want to win it,” McClure
“It’s a tough feeling to describe in terms of how
the group is feeling, they’re obviously excited and
(Tuesday) night’s training was good, but they’re also
a little bit reserved as well.”
This being their fifth matchup with the Bloods,
McClure said his side is well-acquainted with what to
expect from their opponents come tomorrow.
“I think they’ll go back to their best set-up, and I
think we’ve got a fair idea of what to expect from
them, and we’re preparing accordingly,” he said.
“I think we’ve had the best lead-up possible, to have
Heywood push us so hard in that prelim final and yet
get through unscathed, it was a good experience for
us to have.
“It goes to show that you can’t just expect to build an
early lead and then ride the game out like you might
be able to do against some opposition.
“It’s certainly good that we’ve been able to
experience those wake-up calls and lessons now…
they’re painful ones to go through in the grand final.”
McClure said the key to his side’s success tomorrow
simply comes down to them executing on the same
kind of gameplan which has brought them so much
success throughout the season.
“We’ve got such versatility in our personnel that
if we need to change the momentum or change a
matchup, we can do that,” he said.
“But even then, those changes are made with
the player’s strengths in mind, so there’s still the
opportunity there for them to play their natural
Cavendish playing-coach Sam Gibson said his group
is looking forward to hopefully seeing their hard
work over the course of the season pay off with a win
“There’s plenty of excitement, with also some
nerves going in as well which is to be expected,”
Gibson said.
“It’s a long season by the time you get to the grand
final, so we’re hoping we can finish it well and get it
done with a win.”
The Bloods shape up largely similar to last season,
with most of their players having been a part of the
2022 premiership-winning side, with Gibson saying
that level of experience holds them in great stead for
“You can’t buy experience, and the majority of our
guys know what it takes to get the job done… grand
finals are different to any other game of the year,”
Gibson said.
“Both sides will be coming in with the knowledge
that they can best the opposing team… we know
what we need to do, and they know what they need to
do if they want to nullify us.
“We need to bring the pressure we know we’re
capable of and try to minimise the influence of their
key players.
“Ty (Vickery) is a massive factor for them, and
we want to back in our backs to get the job done. It
really starts before he even gets the ball, it’s about
preventing that clean delivery into the forward line
and stemming the flow.”
The senior grand final will get underway at 2.45pm

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