Third Grade Grand Final Preview v Manly

02-Apr-2015

Easts Dolphins will travel over the Spit Bridge to face Manly in the Third Grade Final. 

Squad named to face Manly: Brenton Barker, Harry Brooks, Alex Brooks, Ben Bryant, James Deacon, Prinya Kham, Oliver Maxwell, Sam Mullens (wk), Angus Palmer ©, Mike Peacock, Jack Playfair, Jack Remond, Matt Sarkies, Alex Tunnadine.

Captain Angus Palmer looks back on Third Grade's season and what he's expecting from Manly.

Did you expect to be in this position at the start of the season?

The initial goal at the start of the season was to make the finals. Third grade finished 14th last season and I wanted to improve on that result. I figured that the depth of a grade club is generally measured by your third grade's performance. We picked up a couple of useful players in the top grades this season so I figured with a bit improvement in the side, there was no reason why we couldn't go deep into the finals.

What were the team's most memorable performances?

There have been a few, starting with the first match of the season, which was a game we should never have won against Parramatta. It was an early test of character and injected self-belief into the playing group immediately. Our bounce back comprehensive win playing second placed Sutherland after being soundly beaten the week before against Penrith showed how much resolve we had as a side, while of late, the hard fought victory against an impressive and experienced Hawkesbury side was certainly memorable. And of course our win on the weekend against Penrith showed the intent and hunger within the side and that we weren't just pretenders and weren't going to falter the moment we played sudden death cricket.

Are there a couple of standout individual performances that come to mind?

Our bowlers have had a lot more joy than our batsmen, so the individual bowling efforts are harder to pin point. But considering game context and/or match situation I'd say the two best bowling performances would be Chris Hulston's 5/27 on a flat wicket against Manly in round 4 and Jack Playfair's 5/31 in an attempt to defend 68 two weeks ago against Sydney Uni. With the bat, the best individual performance was Alex Tunnadine's 146* last week which set us up to go into the Grand Final, while Ben Bryant's patient 102*against ND's in bowler friendly conditions was also up there.

What's the biggest motivation for you to win a premiership?

Hard to say because there are a number of motivators based on club, team and personal reasons. If it was one, it was that I was one of the catalyst's in the rejuvenation of the club and given the opportunity to progress the club on the field as well - a second premiership in as many seasons certainly goes a long way to show that the club is moving forward and at a rate of knots.

How have you found moving down the Grades to captain 3's?

It has certainly been different. You don't have the support at Trumper like you do at Waverley, so as a captain you are effectively also the team manager, and ground official, while you also need to source teas. In terms of the standard, sure there is a big gap in standard between 1's and 2's, but I haven't found 3's to be that different in standard to 2nd Grade. I have always thought, players that perform in 3's will always do well in 2's and it's shown with the guys in my side who have moved up during the season. The wickets and knowledge of the opposition is another thing, that is something new and have been learning as I go.

What went wrong in the first finals match against Sydney Uni?

There was interruption of varying types right from the warm up through to tea on Day 1. Firstly Ben Bryant managed to stick a pair of scissors through the top of his hand, so we immediately lost our highest averaging bat before a ball was bowled. This was followed by intermittent showers during the first hour of our innings which juiced the pitch up. By tea, we were that far behind in the game, but to our credit we luckily bought ourselves back into the contest after tea due to some inspired bowling. I think we probably also learnt our lesson about complacency and that just because you trounce a side in the regular season, it doesn't mean it is going to happen again.

What are your thoughts on opponents Manly?

They will be strong, no doubt. When we played them in round 4, we took first innings points by the end of the first day, but that was back in October, and I'm sure their side will be far better this time around. I have also hammered home to my players the difficulty of beating a strong team twice in the same comp or season, so we'll be ready to go come Saturday. Playing Manly, I expect some niggle, and I don't think this match will differ and I expect it to be a game where the pendulum will swing a number of times over the two days. I haven't lost to Manly in 6 seasons, so I'm not planning on that run ending this weekend.

Who is the over-riding personality of the squad? Who are the main contributors in the dressing room?

We have a few. Sam Mullens is without doubt the loudest and suffers from some chronic verbal diarrhea. Nathan Loveday is not far behind in terms of liking the sound of his own voice, despite it being with a different vernacular. Ollie Maxwell who has only recently cemented a spot in the side offers a different dimension with his left field text messages and random 'snapchat' pictures, while Matt Sarkies also offers some light entertainment making it a competition to say 'good morning' to every eastern suburbs mother that crosses within proximity to ear shot of him. Overall my players are easy to manage and are very receptive of what I ask.

Who gets fined the most and who had the worst of 2014/15?

At the back end of the season everyone was reaching their max out of $10 except Mike Peacock and Jack Remond. Prior to this Sam Mullens and Nathan Loveday were fined the heaviest. They both talk the most, so chances are higher they will say something stupid. We have also had a couple of players that struggle with the concept of being fined, namely Ben Bryant and Mud. Best fine of the season: Chris Hulston fining Mud for having a bad salad.


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