Border Mail Grand Final – Preview

And who could blame him?

I’Anson is set to play in his first senior decider despite being about to blow out the candles on his 36th birthday cake later this month.

The strong marking forward made his debut as a 16-year-old for Burrumbuttock in 1999 – long before talks of the league’s most successful merger had even begun.

Fast forward two decades and I’Anson is on the cusp of his childhood dream of playing in a flag with his hometown club.

“I’m pretty excited to be honest – grand finals don’t come around very often,” I’Anson said.

“Personally I’ve played in my fair share of finals but not a grand final.

“I’ve found it tough to crack it for a senior game with the amount of quality key forwards we have had at the club in recent seasons.

“With guys the calibre of Kylin Morey, Nick Brockley and Aidan Johnson spearheading our attack in recent years, I’ve never had the opportunity to play in a grand final.

“So if I get the chance on Saturday, I’ll grab it with both hands.”

Since making his debut, I’Anson has notched more than 250 matches combined in the seniors and reserves.

Senior appearances have proven to be slim pickings for the burly forward since the Saints replaced Osborne as the league powerhouse at the start of the decade.

The merged identity will be contesting its fifth grand final in the past seven seasons.

The Saints boast a lethal grand final record, winning all four deciders they have contested in the past six years.

I’Anson played seconds the entire season before earning a senior berth against Henty in round 16.

He didn’t disappoint and repaid the faith shown by coach Kade Stevens to kick four goals.

“We had a few injuries and it was by sheer luck that I managed to get a game,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to be able to kick a few and hold my spot.

“Stevo has been able to instill a lot of faith and confidence and there is one hurdle left to jump – it just happens to be the biggest.”

Young gun Darcy I’Anson is Adam’s cousin while premiership coach and Azzi medallist Luke Schilg is his brother-in-law.

I’Anson said he had been plagued by a dodgy knee throughout his career.

“The knee has always been a bit iffy,” he said.

“I dislocated my knee cap a couple of times but that has happened for the past decade.

“Truth be known, I probably need a reconstruction but I couldn’t be bothered going to see the specialist.

“My grandfather had to have a knee reconstruction years ago and he ended up getting a golden staph infection and they had to cut the bloody thing off.”

I’Anson is a qualified Ag Pilot by trade which requires a commercial pilots licence.

He’s hoping the Saints will be flying high by 5pm Saturday.

“Osborne are a quality outfit and always hard to beat,” he said.

“But we are fully aware it takes a lot of work to get to a grand final and it takes even more to win them.”

The Tigers have gone from a finals stagger — with a hard fought loss to the Saints in the second semi-final — to a finals swagger after staging a miraculous comeback against Culcairn in the preliminary final.

Galvin said the belief and momentum gained from the come-from-behind preliminary final win was priceless.

“We took a lot of confidence out of being able to turn things around against Culcairn when we had our backs to the wall at half-time,” Galvin said.

“We weren’t playing the type of football we wanted to in the first-half.

“To go in at half-time and remain positive and then be able to turn things around was pretty impressive.

“We went out in the second-half with the mentality that every chance we get, we will take the game on.

“It certainly gives you a shot of confidence that we can fight back if things aren’t going our way.”

The two sides have clashed three times this season with the Saints holding a 2-1 advantage including the second semi-final win a fortnight ago.

The Tigers will be buoyed by the knowledge they were missing centre half-forward George Alexander.

Alexander returned for last week’s preliminary final with the 2017 premiership star crucial to the Tigers’ structures.

“Hopefully getting big George back will help our structures a bit more,” he said.

“It allows us to set up better and we won’t be bombing it down the line to that big unit in Matty Seiter.”

Galvin said the Tigers would have to at least break even at the stoppages to turn-the-tables on the Saints.

Newly crowned Azzi medallist Seiter and Nico Sedgwick were like Batman and Robin in the second semi-final and superhero’s for the Saints.

“It’s no secret that Seiter’s and Sedwick’s work around the stoppages did the damage last time,” he said.

“If we can break even with them at the stoppages, we will back ourselves head-to-head around the ground.

“We just need to stop them from getting those dominant clearances.”

Galvin, 23, will be playing in his second grand final after being part of the Tigers 2017 triumph over Jindera.

His younger siblings, Declan, 21, and Clancy, 19, will also be aiming for a second flag.

Galvin also coaches the thirds who are defending the flag this season against Holbrook.

“I’m pretty laid back like most of the boys in the side and haven’t really thought about the grand final too much,” he said.

“I guess coaching the thirds also helps keep my mind off it too because I have got that to deal with first.”

Galvin said the Saints would head into the clash as favourites.

“In 2017 we were on top and the hunted,” he said.

“This year we are hunting Brock-Burrum and the underdog tag suits us fine.”

The classy midfielder will line up in his second senior Hume League grand final against Brock-Burrum on Saturday.

Rutland was among the Tigers’ best in their 2017 flag against Jindera and also starred in the club’s 2016 reserves triumph after suffering a fractured eye socket earlier that year.

The 28-year-old will play his 100th club game for Osborne in the biggest match of the year.

“It’s been great since I’ve been out there, I think it’s my sixth season,” Rutland said.

“My mum grew up in Grong Grong and my grandfather was around Gainman-Grong Grong-Matong, so I’d heard bits and pieces about Osborne.

“Until you head out there, you can’t really get a hold of what it’s like. There’s nothing around and you’re driving past farm paddock after farm paddock and all of a sudden you see a green oval.

“It’s an unreal sight the way they keep the ground and all the volunteers there make it a pretty special club.”

He’s expecting another huge test against the in-form Saints, who got the better of them in the second semi-final a fortnight ago.

“Their pressure around the ball was pretty good and we were probably a bit flustered. We’ve definitely learnt a from that and the match just gone (against Culcairn). Hopefully we get a different result this time around,” he said.

Rutland grew up in Sydney and played in a senior grand final loss early doors, before two seasons at Belconnen in the Canberra league, winning a reserves flag.

But one thing has so far eluded the trio – playing in a Brock-Burrum premiership together.

Jarod, 34, and his cousins Mitch, 25, and Josh, 18, Koschitzke are hoping that changes when Brock-Burrum take on Osborne in Saturday’s grand final at Walbundrie.

“I’ve played in a premiership with Mitch and Josh before but the three of us have never been in the same side,” Jarod said.

“I’ll be super proud to play in a grand final and potentially a premiership with those two.

“They have really come of age this year.”

Jarod played in Brock-Burrum’s 2016 and 2018 premierships, Mitch was a member of the winning 2013 and 2016 sides and Josh broke through last season.

Almost too embarrassed to mention it, Jarod offered another snippet of information about playing with his relatives.

“I actually played with Steve (club president and father of Mitch and Josh) back in 1999,” the backman said.

“Steve was still cruising around then playing at full-back.

“We were very, very ordinary back then.

“It was Justin’s last year at Brock as well so the three of us had a year together.

“I’ve almost played more games with Steve than Mitch and Josh to be honest.”

Jarod, Mitch and Josh are fourth generation Koschitkes to play at the club.

Their great grandfather, Will, played in Brocklesby’s 1924 flag.

Jarod and Mitch and Josh grandfathers’ Bill and Maurice then played in Brocklesby’s 1950 and 1958 premierships.

Brock-Burrum has defeated Osborne in two of their three head-to-head battles this season, including a 16-point win in the major semi-final.

“We are super confident but we are giving full respect to Osborne,” Jarod said.

“They have a great culture and know how to win finals.

O’Connor has played some of the best football of his career this season and hasn’t given up hope of reaching the 300-game milestone.

“Luke Brauer has played a big part in helping get mobility back into my body with his Monday night rehab sessions this year,” O’Connor said.

“I’m feeling as fresh as my school days at The Scots School.

“I’d like to think I can make 300 and hopefully get another shot at senior footy.”

O’Connor is one of Cricket Albury-Wodonga’s leading players with power club Lavington.

BK: How much self-belief would Osborne have gained from its second-half performance against Culcairn in the preliminary final?

BP: To overcome a big deficit the way they did will make them believe they are in with a big sniff. They will come into this game as underdogs which will sit well with them wanting to be the “Hunters” and hitting the Saints with heaps of pressure.

BK: Sam Livingstone was outstanding on the ball late. Do you think they might keep him in there this week instead of playing in defence?

BP: For Osborne to be any chance against the strong BB Saints midfield they will need to keep Sammy around the ball as much as possible. He was a contested beast last week and really provided the spark for Osborne to turn it around.

BK: Nico Sedgwick had the better of Izaak McDonnell a fortnight ago. Will the Tigers go with the same tag?

BP: Nico is such a hard player to keep quiet with the way he attacks the ball. He is so evasive and breaks away from stoppages at speed so it will take more than one player to limit his impact. If McDonnell goes to him he will need to take him off his line at stoppages so Matty Seiter can’t put it straight down his throat.

BK: Hayden Gleeson is almost 40 and still going strong for Osborne. What are you expecting from him?

BP: Hayden has been a great player for Osborne and played a big role in some previous premiership wins. I’d say his main role early will be keeping the young Tigers composed with plenty of talk and leadership. Whether he is playing down back or pinch-hitting in the ruck he will give great effort for his club in what may be his swansong.

BK: They say grand finals are often won and lost by the bottom five or six players on each side. Who bats deeper in this match?

BP: Both teams have a great amount of depth in their lists which is evident with both clubs having reserves teams in the grand final. In saying that I’ve said all year that Brock-Burrum have the best list with match winners on every line.

BK: Who wins and why?

BP: BB Saints for me. With some experienced campaigners and class on every line they should bring it home. They are the reigning premiers and were the best team for the majority of the home and away season.