CAN Warrnambool’s potent forward line kick a winning score against the best defensive team in the competition?
That’s what today’s grand final boils down to, with Koroit having choked Warrnambool in three meetings this season.
Koroit has restricted Warrnambool to just 10, 14 and 15 scoring shots in each of the contests, with its biggest score 10.5 just two weeks ago in the second semi-final.
But that is unlikely to be enough today, despite both teams having defend-first approaches.
“Our inability to kick a score against Koroit so far this season, you have to give Koroit a lot of credit for that,” Blues coach Scott Carter said.
“They are very good defensively and don’t let you have uncontested footy, a lot of time or space.
“This week we are going to take the game on more.
“We need to be more aggressive with our ball use and push harder to space.”
He said the midfield battles would be crucial.
“Our midfield were disappointing in their performance against Koroit over at Port Fairy,” he said.
“We only generated 35 or 36 inside 50s, which is not enough.
“To the boys’ absolute credit, the way they responded last week was enormous. I think we went inside 50 over 50 times last week.
“If we can match them in our forward 50 and generate 45 to 50 inside 50s, I feel we have the firepower to kick a winning score.”
Koroit coach Adam Dowie said defence was his side’s key, underlined by Warrnambool’s low scores against it.
He said the Saints had kept Warrnambool’s key forwards Jason Rowan and Travis Graham quiet in their home-and-away matches but even when they had good games in the second semi-final, his side still won.
“That gives us a little bit of confidence,” Dowie said.
“We have to stop guys impacting the contest and stop them impacting the scoreboard and not get too focused on stopping Rowey and stopping Trav.
“I think we match up with them really well.
“I think if we can stop their quality ball users delivering quality footy into their forwards and try and put their backline under a little bit more pressure, that will give us a chance.”
Both coaches expect today’s game to be far more appealing than their round one encounter, when Koroit won 6.8 to 5.5 in one of the worst spectacles of the season as defences dominated in slippery conditions.
“If it’s a repeat of round one, we will probably win the game and the crowd will want their money back,” Dowie said.
“I think we are a significantly better side now and I have no doubt Warrnambool is too.
“(We want the) same result but a quality game.
“We think it’s a pretty good starting point in terms of defence first. Warrnambool is pretty much the same.
“I think Warrnambool defensive-wise has been getting better and better during the year and I think that’s why we are so evenly matched.”