Grand Finals Preview!
Cott Reserve Grade
Cottesloe Ressies face perennial contenders in the grade, Palmyra. The palms have put a massive focus on youth and underage structure over the last couple of years, abandoning their policy of going with established mercenaries to bolster their ranks. Their annual appearance in the Colts competition and the fact that they will face Kalamunda in the final of the Championship Competition are evidence of that. Their Ressies side is, by extension, young and possesses buckets of pace. With the introduction of young powerhouse Michael MacDonald into their premier grade side for the weekend this has cascaded down their number 2 choice halfback to reserve grade. Their game plan stems from him and he guides their mobile forward pack around the park. They have a couple of big bodies littered throughout their forward pack and have established a very polished rolling maul over the last number of years, making them very dangerous when they kick for the corners.
For those of you who witnessed Cottesloe Reserve Grade, you will know what this side is all about. Almost every single player in the squad could handle themselves relatively easily at the grade above and as a result, they possess great depth. With multiple bvall players, teams struggle to divine where the next attack will spring from. This side has trained every step of the way alongside our premier grade and in some ways are every bit as fit if not as strong. Coaches Choc and Glen can even call upon veterans such as Mikey Pellowe, Johnny Ogilvie and Doctor John Iliff to stiffen Cottesloe resolve. Palmyra as a side have the experience of winning this grade multiple times over the last few years, but Cottesloe have proven that they can handle them if the group game was anything to go by. I expect a war but one which the Gulls can emerge victorious from.
Cottesloe Premier Grade
And so we come to it, the great battle of our time. For the first time since 2014 our premier grade find themselves in the final and it just had to be Nedlands whom we face, a side who have often been our bane at this stage over the decades. The record between the two sides this season goes slightly in Cottesloe’s favour with a win for us in a titanic match at the foreshore and a 19-19 draw in a grind of a match in blustery conditions at the nest. In worsening weather, Cottesloe do seem to go better than Nedlands as we play a slightly more structured and forward orientated style of football, but make no mistake, there is no team as dangerous in broken play in the heat, than Nedlands. Weather will be sublime on Sunday in Wanneroo and their field is an absolute snooker table. It would make you believe that a wide and expansive game of football could potentially break out. Neither side will have their Western Force players available for selection with Neddies losing out on three players to our two. There is so much quality in both sides that it leads this writer to believe that the margin of who loses more through this absence is negligible. Nedlands themselves are not really a set piece type of side. They generally use their lineout to get ball off the top and unleash their tricky ball players like Kauri Cudd (their explosive fullback) and Dylan Loversidge ( their bearded and shaven headed general in the ten shirt). Perhaps the greatest string to Nedland’s bow is the fact that in coach Sam Rarasea, they have an astute tactician who is more than intimately familiar with most of our team, having been a former Cottesloe player himself.
What’s to say about our side that hasn’t already been said over the course of the season? As at the time of the composition of this little piece, this writer is not privy to the starting teams nor the tactics that coaches Westaway, Owen and West are going to look to employ, but if past games can be used as an indicator, the assault on Nedlands for the championship will begin with the set piece. All neutral rugby people that this writer speaks to concur that, across the competition, Cottesloe possess perhaps the strongest scrum and the most accurate line out and without the concentration of Force players that would have resided in the Nedlands forward pack, this is an area where Master Stringer and Master S’ua will be looking to exploit. Loose kicking to Nedlands back three could prove costly for our guys as in Cudd and the two wingers, they have the men who will relish the opportunity to attack from deep. But in this writer’s limited opinion, the style of possession based, hard and aggressive style of football that saw off Wests Scarborough at the weekend will also prove to be the silver bullet that vanquishes Nedlands, and delivers us our first Premiership in a decade.