Expect bruising final on Sunday

Expect bruising final on Sunday

The perennial flag favourites suffered a shock loss by more than five goals at the hands of the Cougars in their second semi-final clash two weeks ago and will be out to show it was merely a blip in a long preparation to their sixth flag in seven years.

But Chidlow will be no pushovers in this contest of the association’s two titans and have plenty of fire in their bellies after going down to Gidge by 14 points in last year’s Grand Final after going unbeaten with a 17-0 record in the regular season.

The Bulldogs also made a one-act affair of their first clash of the season in the Anzac Day round on April 27, winning 18.14 (122) to 7.4 (46) after the Cougars were held goal-less in the opening term.

But Chidlow were clearly underdone for the outing and were also missing several key players.

The second time the pair met, on June 29, the Cougars were ready with a near full-strength line-up and ambushed their rivals in the first quarter, booting 5.2 to Gidge’s 1.5.

The contest was relatively even for the next two quarters with both sides kicking four goals apiece in a defensive contest.

Although the Bulldogs powered home with five goals to three in the final term the 23-point three-quarter time margin proved too great and they went down by 12 points.

Brett McKinlay booted five goals for Chidlow that day and Shane Fitzgerald three. Chris Scott booted five for Gidge. Both teams had no less than seven individual goalkickers.

Chidlow’s stunning 33-point victory in the second semi-final came on the back of remarkable kicking accuracy.

They booted 17.5 to Gidge’s 11.8.

Both teams will be at near full strength on Sunday in what should be a bruising encounter.

The fact the Bulldogs are hosting the game at home at Percy Cullen Oval could prove decisive.

They have tasted defeat just once in the past two seasons and that could be enough to provide a winning edge.

Then there is the no small matter of club pride, with the Bulldogs having won five of the past six premierships.

Prediction: Gidge by a goal.