By WALT DICKSON
You better brace yourself Carterton, there will be no room for sentimentality in the Tui Cup Grand Final.
Determined to give their skipper – Johnie McFadzean – the perfect send off, Carterton will need to overcome a side that is long overdue a top performance.
Greytown coach Eli Telford reckons that “perfect game” could be just days away. Two days for that matter.
“This season has very much been a case of two steps forward and one step back, so I think our best is still to come,” Telford says.
His heart, and now his head, is telling him that it could be Saturday.
“At training this week it has probably been the most focused that I have seen the boys all season. It shouldn’t take a final for them to really switch on, but maybe it has so all going well we are going to see the best of them.”
Based on last weekend’s 20-13 win over Marist in the semi-final Greytown is well placed heading into this weekend’s showdown.
The green-and-white hoops got the measure of them the previous week but Greytown had clearly learnt from their mistakes playing much more patient footy.
“We tidied-up in all the areas that we wanted to and if we can do that again this weekend we should be in with a real chance.”
Telford is anticipating an almighty tussle, with little separating the two sides. That has been a feature of the back end of the season.
Being the defending champions will count for little, says Telford. Only around half of the likely starting XV this Saturday played in the 2015 Grand Final.
Unavailable because of injury are Nathan Iro and Matt Henderson.
But even without Iro the red, yellow and blacks have plenty of beef. At lock they are well served by Regan Pope and Gareth Van Dalen, not to mention a classy loose forward trio in Isaac brothers Tana and Tavita and Marcus Ale.
An interesting match-up will be between the two half-backs. Carterton’s Daryl Pickering is in the frame for Wairarapa-Bush, while his opposite – Hamish Meyrick – is in tremendous form.
On his day first-five eighth Kingi Kaiwai is as good as any in the competition and with names like Glen Walters and Nick Olson further out-wide Greytown has some genuine strike power.
Meanwhile, Eketahuna will be looking to put to bed the disappointment of missing out on the top four when they take on East Coast for the second tier Hodder-Seffert Cup. The Coasties got up to beat Pioneer to earn their spot in the final.
Despite missing out on one of the two premier grade finals the Pioneer club will have plenty to play for with a team in both of the senior thirds deciders.
FINALS DRAW – 30th July
(All games are being played on the No.1 field at Trust House Memorial Park, Masterton.)
Bottom 6 Final – 11am
Puketoi vs Pioneer OB
Hodder-Seffert Cup – 12.45pm
Eketahuna vs East Coast
Top 6 Final – 2.30pm
Tuhirangi vs Pioneer
TUI CUP –
Carterton vs Greytown