PRELIMINARY FINAL – Terrigal Avoca vs. Cardiff
(2:50pm at No.1 Sportsground)

A dominant start from Terrigal Avoca in the powerhouse’s last meeting against the Hawks proved to be the catalyst for the side’s 56-point win in Round 15. The Panthers ignited a vocal home crowd when piling on 12 of the first 14 goals of the clash as key targets Harrison Pitt and Mitchell Price slotted four each.

Enter the King brothers. In a 20-minute patch like no other, team of the year ruck contender Billy King continuously launched the ball forward to his younger brother Max to convert four late goals. The Hawks undermanned defenders also appeared resilient in the game’s late stages. It made for a positive finish after losing Zac Hopper early in the match. Interestingly, the 29-year-old has been named as an emergency.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Ethan Williams (Terrigal Avoca). Selected to play in his first clash against the Hawks since last year’s preliminary final.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 15, 2023. Terrigal Avoca 17.7 (109) defeated Cardiff 7.11 (53) at Hylton Moore Oval.

FINAL PREDICTION: Terrigal Avoca by 10.


PRELIMINARY FINAL – Killarney Vale vs. Cardiff
(12:50pm at No.1 Sportsground)

Can Cardiff pull off the upset result of the weekend? Many experts from the league’s bottom four clubs believe so following the Hawks’ commanding 15-point semi-final win against the Panthers on Saturday. The Hawks’ biggest asset is their defence. They are able to zone well, intercept and are desperate enough to stop their opposition’s attacks.

In recent years Chelsea Pember and Jessica Bannerman have held the fort down back and their campaign to qualify for this year’s grand final has been strengthened with the absence of two of Killarney Vale’s goal-kickers this weekend.

It is still hard to tip the Bombers though following their undefeated home and away season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Madeline Smith (Cardiff). A very handy ball winner against the top two sides.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 14, 2023. Cardiff 3.7 (25) defeated by Killarney Vale 4.7 (31) at Pasterfield Sports Complex.

FINAL PREDICTION: Killarney Vale by 4.


PRELIMINARY FINAL – Newcastle City vs. Wyong
(10:50am at No.1 Sportsground)

Of the five preliminary finals, this was the match-up I would have pencilled in as the grand final preview by the halfway mark of the season. Newcastle City has proven to be the dominant force in the Plate competition, ready to rectify two recent grand final defeats. Therefore many were shocked to see the Panthers advance straight through to the grand final on semi-final day.

Wyong is now in the box seat to cement an all Central Coast grand final by defeating Newcastle City this weekend. Brayden Tos will enter the ruck contests against Bailey Davico at full speed while the Magpies midfielders Lee Moore, Logan Kubica and Keaton Jones were outstanding against Killarney Vale.

The match-up of Magpie Nathaniel Lander and Newcastle City legend Cameron Keast remains the pick of the crop. The fate of the match may come down to one of these two.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Neeson Naidoo (Wyong). A handy inclusion for the Magpies in the second half of the season.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 18, 2023. Wyong 5.4 (34) defeated by Newcastle City 19.11 (125) at Don Small Oval.

FINAL PREDICTION: Newcastle City by 11.


PRELIMINARY FINAL – Cardiff vs. The Entrance Bateau Bay
(9:10am at No.1 Sportsground)

Cardiff was unable to hold off the Maitland Saints however they receive a final chance to qualify for a second consecutive grand final. The Hawks should still enter as favourite when welcoming back Abbey Cooksley who often steps up against the top sides in the competition.

The Blues showcased six individual goal-kickers in their 33-point win over Newcastle City on Saturday and now look every chance to book a spot in the season decider off of fifth place on the ladder. Expect a fierce contest between two sides that have not played against each other in 137 days.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Sarah Ball (The Entrance Bateau Bay). A top representative talent of recent years.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 3, 2023. Cardiff 5.4 (34) defeated The Entrance Bateau 1.4 (10) at Pasterfield Sports Complex.

FINAL PREDICTION: Cardiff by 15.


PRELIMINARY FINAL – Lake Macquarie vs. The Entrance Bateau Bay
(4:50pm at No.1 Sportsground)

Lake Macquarie showed signs of greatness in their qualifying final against Newcastle City through the poise of defender Tyler Chisholm and the endeavours of ball winner Samuel Hines however they were unable to shutdown the premiership favourite in the middle two quarters. Can they hold off the Blues this Saturday?

On paper, the Dockers conquered the Blues by 88-points in Round 8 however the Blues enter having won five consecutive games.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Scott Reed (The Entrance Bateau Bay). One of the finest talents in the region.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 17, 2023. The Entrance Bateau Bay 11.11 (77) defeated Lake Macquarie 6.1 (37) at Bateau Bay Oval.

FINAL PREDICTION: The Entrance Bateau Bay by 25.