The inaugural season of the Victorian Blind Football League will see the Bulldogs and Hawthorn Hawks go head to head to claim the first Premiership.
The Victorian Blind Football League (VBFL) saw four sides compete in nine rounds of football with the goal of making it to the 2019 VBFL Grand Final.
In last year’s pilot season, the Bulldogs managed to win the Grand Final against the Bombers. With this confidence, the Bulldogs hit the 2019 season running with a round one win of 150 points against the Hawthorn Hawks. This ultimately set a precedent for the Bulldogs as they continued their winning form and came out with a record of 9 wins and 0 losses at the conclusion of the Home and Away 2019 VBFL Fixture.
For the Hawks, player availability and confidence produced mixed performances at the start of the season. The Hawks slowly gained momentum as the season went on and finished with 5 wins and 4 losses. It wasn’t without its challenges, as the winner of the Round 9 Fixture between the Hawthorn Hawks and St Kilda Saints was to progress through to the Grand Final. The Hawthorn Hawks were victorious against St Kilda Saints by 37 points.
Bulldogs Coach Nicholas Pepper is full of praise for his own side as they prepare for the upcoming Grand Final.
“Our strength is our ability to run and carry whilst getting the most out of all players. A real strength for us is to play a strong contested footy brand and go one-on-one with our opposition”.
Pepper also believes the Hawks are a force to be reckoned with. “The Hawks are a strong outfit and are in good form coming into the Grand Final. Ned Brewer-Maiga and John Boland had strong displays in the midfield last week and will be keen to back up their performances in the Grand Final,” Pepper said.
David Gauci, Captain of the Bulldogs, revealed his side’s mindset going into the game.
“We will need to prepare to take a chance but will require all our players to contribute this week as we will be short on numbers. We will endeavor to play with passion and love for the game and see what happens come the final siren”.
Whilst for the Hawks, Coach Ellen Dow spoke about the club’s objectives and the preparation for the Grand Final.
“We play to the Hawthorn Football Clubs’ Kokoda values each week, which for us is first and foremost the most important aspect of the game as opposed to scoreboard results. This week is no different in our approach and preparation.
“Jasper Steeds is one to watch; his ability to read the play, intercept marks and his flawless kicks out front are superb,” Dow said.
Rd 1, 2019, Bulldogs (151) def Hawthorn Hawks (1)
Rd 4, 2019, Bulldogs (97) def Hawthorn Hawks (61)
Rd 7, 2019, Bulldogs (115) def Hawthorn Hawks (79)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jasper Steeds (Bulldogs) will look to continue his goal kicking form and add to his current tally of 50 goals for the season. Jasper is quick, agile and can read the play magnificently. Look for Jasper in attack and stints through the midfield.
Steph Holmes (Bulldogs) has played in mixed roles throughout the year. Steph has the ability to fight hard for the ball in the midfield, as well as dance around opponents and fire on the scoreboard. It’s unknown where Steph will line up, but her flexibility provides great reassurance for Captain David Gauci.
John Boland (Hawthorn Hawks) has contributed five goals in five consecutive rounds. Johnny rarely misses a target with his pin point left foot and often plays most game time in the midfield. A goal kicking midfielder who must have a big game for the Hawks to win.
Cebby “show me the money” Johnson (Hawthorn Hawks), will be looking to convert his behinds from last week into goals. Cebby has no shortage of opportunities in front of goal. If he can convert two or three through the big sticks, the Hawks will be a red-hot chance to win the game.
This Grand Final is hard to separate the Bulldogs and Hawks. It could go either way. But for one, the result could decide who does the dishes in the Steeds household as Father-son duo Jasper (Bulldogs) and David (Hawks) line up against each other.
Grand Final Day will be held at Action Indoor Sports Tullamarine on the 12 October. The exhibition match between the St Kilda Saints and Bombers will proceed at 10:00am. Whilst the Grand Final between the Bulldogs and Hawthorn Hawks will start at 11:30am.
AFL Victoria would like to thank major partners Hawthorn Football Club, St Kilda Football Club, our venue Action Indoor Sports Tullamarine, and Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria for their ongoing support.