Sport

PDFL | preliminary final | Strathmerton v Rennie preview

By Alex Mitchell

The Picola District Football League's two most recent juggernauts collide on Sunday afternoon at Deniliquin — and only one can return to its typical home that is the grand final.

Strathmerton, having played in five of the past six grand finals, will take on two-time defending champion Rennie, in a clash that will take extraordinary football to win.

The Bulldogs potentially enter the game as slight favourites after a stellar 14-2 campaign they backed up with a strong win against Berrigan in a qualifying final, but writing off Rennie in the post-season has become a foolish thing to do.

The Hoppers, who won last year's premiership from sixth on the ladder, are going to have a crack at winning it from fifth this season, and have started their finals campaign in a similarly wonderful fashion, knocking off Mathoura (55 points) and Katamatite (nine points).

Rennie coach Craig Ednie said his side was desperate to once again show it could get it done in September.

"The group has been lucky enough to get this experience the last couple of years, but to get to the preliminary final is massive," Ednie said.

"But it's a massive challenge, Strathmerton has been right up there all season and it's a pretty hard task, so we'll just give it all we've got."

Ednie struggled to pinpoint a key to stopping the Bulldogs, showing the genuine class that appears on every Strathmerton line.

"It's just across the board, there's a good even spread," he said.

"There's Matt O'Kane, Matt Shannon, Tyron Hill, up forward you've got (Travis) Down, Connor Hargreaves, (Zack) Betson, great options like that.

"Then there's midfielders like Lance Oswald, so it's a good even team."

But Rennie has stars aplenty of its own; Chase Strawhorn (72 goals this season) remains in the league's best forwards, Ednie himself is still as classy as it gets, while emerging talents like Joel O'Dwyer and Jack Kennedy round the side off nicely.

The Bulldogs boast 55 and 18-point wins against the Hoppers this season, but will need to be at their A-level to see them off with everything to play for.