2014 - Preliminary Finals - Preview

Preliminary Finals

Saturday 6 September 2014

At Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre
(hosted by Warracknabeal Hockey Club)



Teams vie for final places in grand finals

Teams will vie for the final berths in the Wimmera Hockey Association grand finals this week as finals campaigns continue.  The preliminary finals will be held at the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre on the turf on Saturday with Warracknabeal Hockey Club hosting the day.

Kaniva Raiders, Dimboola Women and Warracknabeal Hoops each booked the first places in the grand finals when they won their qualifying finals last week.

Minor premiers in each division lost their semi finals last week and will be looking to capitalise on their second chance to make the big final.  Sometimes the experience of a loss in the first round of finals has benefits with teams not underestimating their opponents when it comes to the all important final so this should be a good test as they continue through the finals series.

Yanac club has the minor premiership in each of the open, women’s and junior divisions with Tigers, Yanac Women and Warriors each finishing the home and away season on top of their ladders.

Warm weather last weekend impacted results with fitness becoming a key factor.  A cooler week should allow teams to play their own game without battling untimely elements.

Intensity will be key with teams needing to raise the bar on their home and away season performances if they want to claim the places in the major final which is reserved for the elite.


Yanac Warriors will play the Warrack Revengers in the junior preliminary final to fight for the final spot in the junior grand final.  The teams have played twice this year including only a few weeks ago, with Warriors winning both encounters 5-0.  With Warriors strong attacker Todd Alexander against Revengers consistent full back Colin Taylor this should be a good match up.  However, Warriors have a team full of strong players including the girls who can hold their own. 

Warriors have two of the top five junior boy goal scorers with Jaidyn Honeyman and Todd Alexander, while Revengers also have one in Jack Dean.  Warriors also have some top female scorers in Shanaye Alexander and Sophie Pipkorn to watch out for.  Another high scorer Kaitlyn Miller may not play this match due to injury.  Zachary Dorrington is another top contributor over the field for Warriors.

Revengers have been well served by Colin Taylor this year, providing opportunities to push forward to forward Jack Dean and young Oskar Bennett who is a consistent up and coming star to watch out for and young Serena Foot who is starting to make her mark in the team.

Coming off the marathon effort going to three rounds of sudden death strokes ending in a loss to the second placed Kaniva Raiders last week, Warriors will be keen to make amends and reserve their place in the grand final, and to get the job done by full time.  Revengers bowed out at this point last year and will give it a good go to not repeat, although Warriors should have the advantage.


Yanac Women held onto their minor premiership by only a couple of points ahead of second placed Dimboola Women who delivered the top team its first loss for the season in the final home and away round and then again in last week’s hotly contested semi final.  Yanac will come out firing this week to prove their worth and if they keep their heads and play to their own game they should be able to overcome Horsham Highlanders who were several points below the top two.

In four encounters this year Yanac has beaten Highlanders 4-1, 4-0, 9-0 against an undermanned side, and 5-0 just a few weeks ago.  However, the fourth placed Highlanders are not to be underestimated having come from behind before to go on to win the grand final.  Yanac will need to start strongly and not lose tempo as the game progresses.

Highlanders are a fit team which gave them the advantage on the hot day last weekend when they beat Nhill Thunderbirds in the elimination final.  Highlanders were lower on the ladder but are well-known for their fitness and on a hot day like last week it was a key factor in their win.  Half back Launa Schilling who missed several rounds due to an overseas trip, put in a courageous performance last week sustaining a cut under the eye which soon turned into a black eye but she returned to the field minutes later and scored the goal that lifted the side and they went on to score again and win.  Strong half back Robyn Creek has also returned in recent weeks from injury which has also boosted the side.  Versatile half back Lucy O’Connor, also able to play a strong forward, and captain Mikaela Turvey providing drive on the forwardline have been consistent for the team all year.  Since the Horsham junior team didn’t make their finals the few juniors playing for the women will not be tired from playing a junior match of their own, providing extra strength and legs as the team is strengthening at the right end of the season.

Yanac has been a stable side this year, unbeaten until the final home and away round, and they now have some quality finals match experience from last year and will be a tough competitor.  With Erin Alexander at centre half back and sister Anne Blackwood on full back and equal top women’s division goal scorer Louise Bone firing at inner this will be a strong side.  Caitlyn Smith is a strong half back who is also able to push forward.  May sisters Sheree Shurdington and Carmel Beattie are also strong contributors both in defence and attack.  Yanac has no weak links and will just need to play their own game with confidence in their experience and their teammates.  They should take the experience from last week’s loss and use it to spur them on for this week.  This could be a close match.


Yanac Tigers are the only team across the three divisions to claim unbeaten status following the completion of home and away rounds but suffered their first loss last week in the qualifying final against Warrack Hoops.  Tigers will come out firing this week when they take on the Dimboola Men who have come up from fourth place beating Kaniva Cobras last week to keep their finals campaign going.

With the final grand final berth up for grabs it will be a fast and furious match, great for spectators. 

Tigers will want to redeem themselves from last week and will be keen to get another shot at playing the Hoops this season if they can meet them in the grand final. 

Tigers have beaten Dimboola 6-0, 4-0, 1-0 and 2-1 during the season.  The winning margin has dropped significantly with Dimboola even managing to score against the Tigers in the last round which is no mean feat with the Tigers only conceding 6 goals for the entire home and away season.  One of the matches was almost drawn except for Tigers converting with only a few minutes to go.  Dimboola are on a roll at this end of the season and should not be underestimated.

Tigers have plenty of capable scorers and this should serve them well.  Nathan Alexander has been a consistent director of play from centre half back for Tigers this season, and will be a key factor in their match, although there are also several other quality contributors with Simon Farmers, Tom Cook, Jamie Harding and Adam Clohesy providing drive through to the forwardline.

Dimboola has the second highest goal scorer in the open division in Nathan Jorgensen, who together with his brother Tim have accounted for the majority of the best on ground awards for Dimboola.  James Klinge has made a significant contribution to the side since his return in the later part of the season, being named best for the side for the past two weeks including his top performance in last week’s semi finals win.

Each side boasts strong defence with Caleb Halsall and Brett Tischler last week playing well, and Vern Wheaton and Kim Croot providing experience in the back line for Tigers.  Strong defence for each team includes talented goalies Ellie Woods for Dimboola and Murray Miller for Tigers.  If the game goes to strokes it will be a close call but should slightly lean in Tigers favour with several experienced strokers in the mix.  Dimboola will put in a great effort to win a place in the grand final before that, however, and this will be a fantastic game to watch.

Good luck to all teams playing this round of finals.  Play hard and play fair.

- Rachel Clark, WHA Records Secretary 2014


Preliminary Finals Draw

Saturday 6 September 2014

At Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre

(hosted by Warracknabeal Hockey Club)




Yanac Warriors vs Warrack Revengers




Yanac Women vs Horsham Highlanders




Yanac Tigers vs Dimboola Men