STRATHFIELDSAYE will regain two key players ahead of tomorrow night’s semi final showdown with Eaglehawk at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
After a bizarre first weekend of finals in which Kyneton lost by 113 points in a qualifying final before a gallant Gisborne was upended by Sandhurst, Strathfieldsaye enters the fray this weekend.
The Storm had the week off and used it to rest key personnel, with classy midfielder Jake Moorhead and ruckman Harry Crone set to return for the grand final play-in.
Moorhead missed the final three games of the home and away season while Crone hasn’t featured since a round 12 win over Kyneton.
While the reigning champs had the weekend off, Eaglehawk built on its recent momentum with a crushing victory over a listless Kyneton.
The Hawks blew the Tigers away completely in a dominant show of strength, more than half of their side kicking goals en route to the 149-37 win.
Sean Williams starred up forward with five majors, but the Hawks face a selection dilemma of their own with Matt Gretgrix available to return.
The star forward hasn’t played since round 11 and the Hawks have been unpredictable for opposing defences without the multiple-time Ron Best Medal winner.
But Gretgrix is a proven finals performer, leaving Josh Bowe and the Hawks coaching staff with a quandary.
The Hawks’ midfield will need to be every bit as good tomorrow night as it was in the demolition job of Kyneton if they are to get near the Storm and potentially advance to the grand final.
If the game needed any extra billing, the sides met in last year’s semi-final under lights at the QEO and turned in a thriller with a late Sam Heavyside miss costing the Storm a chance to win the game.
On Sunday, Kyneton will attempt to make amends for its week one disaster against Sandhurst.
The Dragons tuned up for the match with a sharp final quarter against Gisborne in what, to that point, had been an arm wrestle.
The Dragons booted four goals in the final term and boasted an encouraging spread of nine goalkickers for the match.
Kyneton, meanwhile, was woeful, and Luke Beattie’s men will be determined to put in a far more resilient performance.
Whether they can defend well enough to slow down Sandhurst’s clearance grunt and ball movement will be key in the final result.
Saturday night’s second semi final gets under way at 6pm while Sunday’s first semi starts at 2.20pm.