Lions, Boomers to square off

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Boomers skipper Rohan Lilly flies high during the second semi-final against the Lions.
Camera IconBoomers skipper Rohan Lilly flies high during the second semi-final against the Lions. Credit: Jack Gibellini

BAGGETTA’S TAKE

In many ways, Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault league coach John Baggetta feels he has adopted 25 sons each week during 2019.

Although the Lions boss has achieved a lot in football, he believes every squad is different and has loved being able to play a role in all of his players’ lives.

“I’ve got a son who plays,” Baggetta said.

“But I’ve probably developed another 25 sons if that makes sense, that’s how I look at it.”

Baggetta said he valued all of his players equally and was a not focussed on a select few.

“We are all different,” he said.

“They probably don’t always like what I do at different times but at the end of the day, we are a group and that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most.

“Like any coach will tell you, you have your laughs along with ups and downs.”

Reluctant to compare teams or eras, Baggetta believes football has changed a great deal since his last undefeated season as a coach.

“Ten years ago I coached Carey Park to an undefeated season and the football was very different to what it is today,” Baggetta said.

“These guys aren’t what the 2009 Carey Park side were, but in saying that, those Panthers players aren’t what these HBL guys are.

“There’s a lot of variables. From last year to this year, you wouldn’t even compare Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault to Donnybrook because it’s not fair.

“Instead, you look at the attributes of each group.”

Ahead of the big game, Baggetta said all players injured during the second semi-final had trained on Sunday and he was confident they would all be available for selection.

These players include Ben Ablett, Zachariah Piper, Tim Yarran and Kristin Thornton, who was rested for the semi-final.

The only potential concern could be Yarran, with the Lions coach giving the impressive utility up until tomorrow night to confirm his match fitness.

“Tim Yarran trained lightly on Sunday and he will participate in our final two sessions,” Baggetta said.

“If by tomorrow night he isn’t 95 per cent fit, he won’t play – it’s as simple as that. We’ve got the depth, so there is no point playing unfit players, as you can’t get away with it on the big stage.”

A keen observer of the Boomers’ 60-point win over the Dons in the preliminary final, Baggetta feels the start of the game will be crucial.

“If you look at the results over the last couple of weeks, these two sides are clearly better than anyone else,” he said.

“There’s not a lot between us.

“We’ve had our challenges and been able to overcome them, so I’m pretty confident the boys are good enough.

“We just have to turn up and make sure our mindset is right, so there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”

If the Lions are victorious on Sunday, it will be their ninth SWFL premiership and their first grand final win since 2010.

MAGUIRE’S TAKE

Eaton Boomers coach Brett Maguire will live out a childhood dream when he coaches at Hands Oval on Sunday against the Lions.

“I played footy for the Cardies and was a captain amongst other things with our family connection,” he said.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. To coach the club and have success with that is one of those achievements which I would love to be able to tick off.

“It’s been a bit of a childhood dream really to get to this point so I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Boomers boss kept things very low key after the preliminary final, with his side quickly briefed on the week ahead prior to leaving the ground.

Both Matthew Scott and Herman Humphries left play during the match with injury concerns, however, Maguire is confident both will be in the mix for selection.

“I spoke with Matthew on Tuesday and he found his injury during the preliminary final was more hamstring tightness than anything else,” Maguire said.

“By not playing the remainder of the game and sitting it out, he managed to get some benefit from it.

“Herman’s a bit the same.

“He’s put his hat in the ring to say that he is ready to go, so we’ve really got a full list to pick from.

“So there may be someone or a few players who might be unlucky to not be selected.”

Maguire won’t attempt to reinvent the wheel on the training track this week as he believes the seeds have been sewn leading up to the finals series.

“I think keeping momentum is all about what you are able to do leading up to grand final week,” he said.

“In our case, over the last five or six weeks, we’ve kept our list fairly stable.

“You are then able to get the guys to believe and buy in to what you what you have done and what you are trying to do.

“Once you get to grand final week, you are hoping the guys all have a really good mindset and are able to enjoy and embrace the week rather than doing anything out of the ordinary.”

Aware of the dangers which the Lions possess within their arsenal, Maguire is quite happy to focus on what his side can do, particularly in the middle of the ground.

“We believe our best is good enough so that’s our focus,” he said.

“Within our playing list we have experienced guys and a number of young guys. We lack maybe through the middle-age group, hence our senior players Rohan Lilly, Brendan Page and Steven Jas and Graham Jetta all have winning experience at a higher level.

“So in many ways they are a stabilising influence within the group.

“We just expect those guys to carry on doing what they have been doing and lead by example.”

The Boomers have become a perennial SWFL finalist across the past decade, however, they haven’t won a flag since 2014.

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