SWFL 2022: All indications point to a tense league grand final between the Hawks and Tigers

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Ben Horsman (South Bunbury) is chased by 2022 Hayward medallist Simon Moore.
Camera IconBen Horsman (South Bunbury) is chased by 2022 Hayward medallist Simon Moore. Credit: Justin Fris

For many people in the South West football community, Sunday’s league grand final between Augusta-Margaret River and South Bunbury at Hands Oval is the match-up they’ve wanted for months.

And now that wait is nearly over.

Both teams set the standard for the rest of the competition throughout the home-and-away season by playing a high-octane brand of football.

The tight nature of the Hawks-Tigers rivalry this year even extended to the minor premiership being determined by less than one percentage point — with Augusta-Margaret River leapfrogging South Bunbury in the final two minutes of their 17.10 (112) to 9.9 (63) win over Bunbury at Payne Park.

Sunday’s meeting will be a rematch of the second semifinal, of which the Hawks ran out 9.13 (67) to 6.11 (47) victors in.

One interesting factor this season has been the importance of home-ground advantage in this rivalry, given the home team has triumphed (twice at Gloucester Park, once at Hands Oval) in all three meetings to date.

Hawks coach Matt Jamieson has been in good spirits all week, with his side not skipping a beat during their training session last Saturday before the AFL grand final.

Much like his seasoned team, Jamieson is keen for the game to start, so his side can let their deeds on the field do the talking.

“It all went to plan (on Saturday) and everyone got through,” he said.

“We will be looking to pick our best side for the big game.

“We will continually be working on what we are setting out to achieve. There will be nice weather on our side this week, so that will be nice as well.”

As was the case before last season’s grand final win over Busselton, all Hawks players, coaches and officials will be acutely aware of what is specifically required of them days out from Sunday’s decider.

This task will be somewhat easier in 2022, as Augusta-Margaret River’s reserves team are also in a grand final against South Bunbury.

“Having probably three quarters of the team and support staff who have already experienced this week and what grand final day is about? It obviously makes it a little easier,” Jamieson said.

Neither Jamieson or Tigers counterpart Julian Burgess are complacent about any element of this contest, although Burgess believes some of his prime movers could prove important, as they did during Sunday’s preliminary final win over the Harvey Bulls.

“That is why you bring two or three to your club every year,” Burgess said.

“They are the ones you hope that when the big games come along, they will give the local boys a lift — like they did on the weekend.”

Burgess said he was tremendously proud of what both the league and reserves teams have achieved this year and would love to deliver a premiership to all loyal Tigers supporters in the club’s 125th anniversary season.

Bouncedown is at 2.30pm.

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