NTFA First Division: Bracknell and Longford in the preliminary final | Examiner

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A preliminary final is a great achievement in itself, but a preliminary final between two fierce rivals is a day to savor. That will be the case when rivals Longford and Bracknell face off in the make-or-die match for the right to advance to the NTFA Grand Final next week. Bracknell has been one of the form teams in the NTFA Premier Division Finals after knocking out Deloraine and Rocherlea in recent weeks to secure a berth in the preliminary final. Internally, the club had set themselves the goal of returning to the final after some time in the desert. With that goal achieved, some may dare to dream of the prime minister’s glory, but the Redlegs are firmly set on Longford this week. “They have great defensemen who really bounce off the half-back so we’ll be watching their guys closely,” said coach Corry Goodluck. Read: Unbeaten Launceston ready for fit OL in NTFAW The mantra of intensity and pressure may seem monotonous from Bracknell’s part, but their style has shone in their recent playoffs. Goodluck said his team will aim to run the basics to get their ticket to the grand final. “Discipline is key for us, it has worked well for us this year, trying to reduce free kicks… that’s something we have tried to tackle,” he said. Longford was treated to the spectacle of Bart McCulloch in his last game, but coach Beau Thorp tipped his defensive unit, including Jacob Wiggers and Jaidyn Harris, to bounce back. “Our full six have been our strongest line all year and I’m sure the other teams know our full six are really good,” he said. “We’ll be looking more at the pressure around the ball than the pressure on our full sixs.” Read: Cavaliers and Hawks ready for NL Grand Final The Tigers will take some time in the Redlegs’ big forwards, including Matty Dennis, who has proven to be a focal point in attack. “They have two fantastic big men so we’re going to put a lot of work on these guys and if we can slow them down I’m sure we’ll go a long way to win the game,” Thorp said. Read: The South African star is now a hurricane As part of the long-running rivalry, the two teams will look to win the Roberts Rivalry Cup and the Gerald Mahar medal. “It’s good for both teams to have such a rivalry against each other, usually when we play there are big crowds who really come into the game and like to watch a good game,” he said. said Thorp. “The rivalry is huge, obviously the two clubs have had a strong rivalry there for many years… the two teams don’t like each other and it will be a passionate game,” said Goodluck. The losers will have to plan the commiserations of Silly Sunday as the winners advance to the grand final against South Launceston. Do you know anyone who contributes to the sport of northern Tasmania, whether by participating or helping? The Examiner’s Junior Sports Awards, sponsored by Woolworths, recognize the achievements of players, coaches, volunteers, teams and clubs in the region. Applications are open from Wednesday April 14 and will close at midnight on October 4. Entries must include a photo of the participant.

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Mary Moser

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