Bears, Tigers battle for grand final spot

Eyes on the prize: Meningie's playing coach Brian Fenton addresses his troops earlier in the year. The Bears will meet the Tigers for their first finals match on Saturday.

Eyes on the prize: Meningie's playing coach Brian Fenton addresses his troops earlier in the year. The Bears will meet the Tigers for their first finals match on Saturday.

THE Meningie Bears enter the River Murray finals series at Murray Bridge on Saturday as premiership favourites.

Direction: Mypolonga coach Steve Sumner delivers his message during a break in play this season.

Direction: Mypolonga coach Steve Sumner delivers his message during a break in play this season.

However, a determined, match-hardened Mypolonga Tigers unit stands in their way.

As minor premiers, Meningie had the week off last week and while the Bears watched on to see who their first finals opponent would be, the Tigers slogged it out in an epic contest against Mannum.

It was a brilliant match between two entertaining sides that saw a 151-144 scoreline and ended with the Tigers taking the victory by seven points.

Mypolonga built a comfortable lead and were up by as much as six goals but momentum swung and the Roos looked likely to overrun the Tigers.

Mypo then came again and were led brilliantly by skipper James Moss, who kicked 13 goals.

It was a top-class performance by the Tigers, however one only has to go back two weeks to the last minor round to see how they went pitted against the best.

The Bears were victorious over the Tigers by 43 points and stamped their claim as the league’s best side.

The Bears have won their last six matches and are on a hot roll. However, it is worth noting Meningie’s last loss was to Mypolonga, back in round 11 and on that occasion the Tigers won by 10 goals.

Meningie’s stars are going to be hard to contain now the Bears have hit the business end of the season.

The likes of Brian Fenton, Karl Lohde, Myles Warmington, Brodie Martin and Peter Nelson are classy performers and will not let the Bears down in their quest for the flag. 

Meningie’s Tyson Schmidt and Harry Slee have been good all season and Jed Durdin is a big target up forward.

For the Tigers, Moss is an explosive footballer who has proven to be a match winner.

However, the Bears score better than any other side and Moss will need help if this match is to become a shootout. 

Tiger star Ben Gogel left the field with a leg injury on Saturday but he’s a tough competitor and is likely to play.

Together with Clint Diment, Seamus McDonnell and Locky Bulter, they form a solid midfield unit with the help of Nathan Wright in the ruck and you get the feeling if any side can challange Meninige’s star onballers, it’s this Tiger group.

It was 12 days ago the Bears rolled the Tigers by seven goals and that cannot be overlooked when picking a winner. 

Mypolonga are an exciting side and the sky is the limit for the Tigers, but Meningie should be too classy on Saturday.

The Standard’s tip: Meningie, 21-30 points.

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