AFL HCC Grand Final Previews – All competitions

AFL HCC Black Diamond Cup Grand Final, Terrigal Avoca vs Newcastle City, 3.20pm, Adelaide St Oval

The AFLHCC version of the Old Firm Derby, the two dominant sides of a generation meet for the third successive year in the Big Dance.

How do Terrigal Avoca win?

  1. Their back six/seven/eight shut down City and launch attacking raids off half-back. The Panthers superb defence is what coach Chris Bishop has instilled across all of their three grades, and if Jarrad Flint, Will Delahunty, Jayson Van Dam, Harrison Bond, James Hart and Will McKellar are allowed to create third man in contests, City are in for a long day. Flint will look to repeat his best on ground performance from last year’s Grand Final, playing loose in the “sweeper” role for Bishop.
  2. Control Conor Haswell, Matt Bailey and Reed van Huisstede. Haswell’s brilliant delivery and aerial skills are very damaging and Bishop will have put a lot of thought into controlling the League representative star, with Corbin Bond a possible defensive forward with responsibility for Haswell. Bailey is back from several years at Maher Oval playing for Turvey Park, and he has effectively replaced Mitchell Knight in the centre for City. Van Huisstede is one of the most dominant forwards in the competition and City need to place him into one-on-one contests as often as possible.
  3. Goals from the midfield. Fleming, Grimmond, Ellis, Bishop himself and Price if fit all rotate through the midfield and provide crucial goal-scoring options for Terrigal Avoca if Ellis and Pete Van Dam are kept quiet. Fleming’s return from a losing argument with the Adcock Park cricket square is very timely for the Panthers.
  4. Keep the foot down, at all times. Complacency won’t be a problem, not after last year’s superb City comeback. If the Panthers get a sniff, watch them hunt in packs and build early scoreboard pressure.
  5. Get Mitchell Price onto the field. Price jarred his knee late in the Panthers’ semi-final win at Adelaide St Oval and the best ruckman in the League is pivotal to Terrigal Avoca’s structure. Unusually for a ruckman, Price’s delivery by foot is immaculate and his marking is peerless.

How do Newcastle City win?

  1. They must score at least 70 points. In a relatively low-scoring League where defence is a major focus, kicking a minimum 11.4 means Terrigal Avoca can’t flood the backline all day. Van Huisstede, Haswell, the midfield and, importantly, Crawford must all contribute on the scoreboard. Jackson Crawford had a great Grand Final 13 months ago and must kick a bag of goals once again, Watch for City to push Ethan Durbridge into goal scoring range to add another option.
  2. Bailey has to have a big game. Bailey v Bishop will be worth the price of admission alone. If Bailey has 30-plus touches, City will be very hard to stop.
  3. O’Malley gets a minimum 25 possessions. The ultimate utility player, O’Malley has to negate Fleming, Grimmond and Bishop.
  4. Get the ball to Haswell & under-rated Durbridge, often.
  5. Quinlan is dominant at centre half-back. The big man has a huge job, especially if Price, Pete Van Dam and Ellis rotate through half-forward. However, Max may end up spending time on young forward Harrison Pitt, in what be an excellent match-up of two young guns.
  6. Haswell steers the ship. It’s inconceivable that Bishop will let Haswell quarterback City, running alone and unattended. Who wins this battle has one hand on the Black Diamond Cup?


AFLHCC Womens Grand Final, Newcastle City v Killarney Vale, 12.40pm, Adelaide St Oval

Perennial Grand Finallists Newcastle City have been very solid, if not spectacular in 2020. A dominant performance in the semi-final, in which they destroyed Cardiff, has City primed for the massive task of taking on undefeated Minor Premiers Killarney Vale, without the injured Sarah Halvorsen (knee) and Annalise Norton (finger)

Key players for City are Meaghan MacDonald, Kate Handley, Molly Simpson and small forward Amy Pittman. Caitlin Holcombe will have her hands full when she rotates through the middle.

Killarney Vale has taken all before them this season and will seek revenge after being eliminated by City in a simply pulsating Preliminary Final in the wet at Adelaide St in 2019. Hannah Page has come on in leaps and bounds this year in the ruck, with sister and skipper Ashleigh Page spending time rotating between the midfield and half-forward.

Youngster Kristen Kessler has been a revelation inside the forward 50, her speed and athleticism playing alongside the experienced Ange Jones pivotal to the Bombers unbeaten run so far.

Sasha Edwards is the midfield general for Killarney Vale, and Holcombe, given her fitness levels and aerobic capacity, may spend time on Edwards in trying to negate the skilful Killarney Vale centre.


AFLHCC Black Diamond Shield Grand Final, Cardiff v Killarney Vale, 10:00am, Adelaide St Oval

Undefeated Minor Premiers Cardiff will enter the Shield Grand Final full of confidence after a dominant Home & Away season, and are firm favourites against their vastly-experienced opponents Killarney Vale, on an historic day for the Bombers, with club legend Dane Amidy playing his 400th game for the club.

In the forwards, Brendan Wold, Jared Campbell and Andrew Walker will keep Bombers Coach Jimmy Newburn very busy trying to contain the Cardiff key men. Campbell will feed off crash ball from Walker, whilst Wold will play out of the square, possibly having Bombers skipper Daniel Harvey for company most of the day.

Ruckman Matthew Holmes will line up against Liam Banfield in a very important one-on-one contest. Holmes, a State League basketballer only playing football due to Basketball being postponed due to COVID-19, has great aerial skills whilst Banfield is very handy around the ground.

Hamish Thompson runs the Cardiff backline in a calm and composed manner, and his rebound on the relatively short Adelaide St Oval will be important. Club stalwart Nick Kocon returns from injury and will play a utility role, moving from half-forward to half-back as required.

Experienced Killarney Vale forwards Kyall Walford and Justin Daley quite simply have to fire for Newburn’s team to win. Walford is very skilful and an excellent long kick, whilst Daley’s sure hands and ability to use either side of his body is very important for the Bombers chances.

Harvey and Paul Blain have important roles across the backline, especially with key ruck Scott Wright ineligible to play, together with Matthew Weaver and Campbell Wilson, all of whom played too much Black Diamond Cup this year. Amidy will rotate between half-forward and midfield and will look to snag a couple of majors in his quite extraordinary 400th game for his beloved Bombers. Key, leftie midfielders Riley Weatherall and Hugh Wells have to get quality ball to Daley, Walford, Amidy and Marc Adams, who will probably spend time up forward in Weaver’s absence.

The Hawks are favourites here, but they will be well-advised not be complacent of a Killarney Vale outfit playing in front of a passionate home crowd.



AFLHCC Black Diamond Plate Grand Final, Terrigal Avoca v Newcastle City, Bateau Bay Sports Facility, 11:00am

Terrigal Avoca, a side full of Cup experience, will go about their duties in a quiet, unfussed, disciplined and ruthless fashion. They dismantled a gallant TEBB team in the semi-finals, with key forward Angus Quail kicking 8 goals in a dominant display

However, unlike the previous two seasons, where the Panthers were undefeated and clear favourites, Terrigal Avoca head into the Plate Grand Final, given the dominant performances this year of their opponents, heavyweights Newcastle City.

City produced an excellent Home & Away season, going 9-1 over 10 games and, importantly, convincingly defeating Terrigal Avoca twice, home and away.

Then, in one of the more remarkable performances of recent times, City put on a superb and dominant display in their semi-final in Nelson Bay, defeating Wallsend-West Newcastle by 171 points.

City are clear favourites here, the Panthers must get away to a good start if they are to be with a serious chance against this balanced, even and hungry City outfit.


AFLHCC Black Diamond Plate Womens Grand Final, Lake Macquarie v Singleton, Bateau Bay Sports Facility, 1.40pm

In a clash of clearly the two best sides in the Plate Womens Competition, Minor Premiers Lake Macquarie head into the Grand Final as firm favourites against a talented Singleton Roosters outfit.

The Dockers will need big games from Emma-Jayne Howe, Billie Schneeweiss and rugged on-baller Sheldon Janissen if they are to take out the inaugural Womens Plate competition. Both Howe and Schneeweis should be fresh after being rested for the last game of the Home & Away season, with Janissen and livewire Carla Hill having big days in their absence. The Jennings sisters, Isabella and Cleopatra, will need to get quality ball to the talented Dockers midfield on a regular basis.

For Singleton, much depends on their big three of Tori Cowburn (surely headed for another Club Best & Fairest), rising star Kalani Bates and Kyah McBride. Bates and McBride have to:

a. get their hands on the footy regularly, then;
b. convert every possible opportunity into goals.

Cowburn, the dominant back of the competition, will launch attacking raids with her run and carry, with Bates loitering with intent across half-forward and McBride inside the forward 50m arc.

The Dockers are clear favourites but the Roosterettes will enter the Grand Final quietly confident of an upset.


Written By David Redden