Wolves working towards perfect year ahead of grand final

PREMIERSHIP FAVOURITES: Tolland's Christina Grauer-Kompos (front) gearing up for the Leonard Cup grand final with teammates Lizzie Read, Monica Kompos, Jessica Leak and Neva Walker at Kessler Park. Picture: Les Smith
PREMIERSHIP FAVOURITES: Tolland's Christina Grauer-Kompos (front) gearing up for the Leonard Cup grand final with teammates Lizzie Read, Monica Kompos, Jessica Leak and Neva Walker at Kessler Park. Picture: Les Smith

Tolland is on the brink of capping off a blinding Leonard Cup campaign with the premiership.

The Wolves have torn the competition to shreds, finishing the regular season undefeated with an inconceivable 141 goals for and 13 against.

But the dominant team’s two greatest challenges came against Junee, their grand final opponent on Sunday.

The Jaguars held a Tolland side accustomed to wiping the floor with their opponents to comparatively modest 4-2 and 2-1 wins at either end of the season.

Wolves coach Annette Parkinson will not be taking Junee lightly as a result, suggesting her team’s regular season dominance would mean nothing if they failed to perform in the pressure cooker environment of the grand final.

“Finals football is a completely different game,” she said.

“Regardless of our results during the regular season, we’ll definitely need to be at our best on the weekend.

“The girls will go in with the mindset that they can’t rely on their regular season success and that they’ll have to play the full 90 minutes, knowing that whichever team does that will win the game.”

Parkinson said the midfield battle, coupled with defending Junee’s swift attacks, would be key to her side’s chances.

“They have a lot of pace out wide and they like to switch the play very quickly and attack in that open style of play that we like as well,” she said.

“It'll be won in midfield at the end of the day.”

Junee coach Adrian Weir agreed that the game would be won and lost in the middle of the park, and said he was formulating plans to slow down a devastating Tolland midfield which features Lizzie Read and Leonard Cup Player of the Year co-winner Bernadette Blake.

“I’ve got a few different tricks up my sleeve,” Weir said.

“I’ll probably get someone to mark Bernie (Bernadette Blake) and maybe a few others in the middle.

“We want to tag her like an Aussie Rules tagger would, just run around and annoy the hell out of her all game.

“That’ll be important because their midfielders are pretty much the guts of their side, they use them to go everywhere and distribute the ball all over.”

Junee have been bolstered by the returns of Steph Puttock and Angela Barclay late in the season and last week enjoyed the luxury of having an entirely fresh team for the first time all season.

Boosting the Wolves’ already sky-high confidence will be the return of two key players.

Rachael Long will be back after spending three weeks on placement, while Kelsey Sibley will also return.