Stage set for grand final showdown
The 2020 SA Super League season will come to a pinnacle this Friday night when the Western Rogues and Central Chargers do battle in the grand final at Salisbury.
The two sides finished first and second on the ladder respectively following the minor round, with the Rogues claiming victory in last Friday night’s semi-final clash between the two.
This followed on from the Rogues’ win over the Chargers in round four at Holdfast Bay.
The clash kicks off from 8:15pm, following the under 21s and reserves grand finals, which begin at 6pm.
Rogues’ star Ashley Klose said he was happy with the way his side stepped up under pressure in the opening week of the finals.
“Any time you get out on the green and have a win you are happy, but when its in a big game like that against quality opposition, it is always nice when things click,” he said.
“We set ourselves to win this competition and that win put us one step closer, which we are happy about.”
Ashley believes a positive atmosphere around the Rogues this season has been a key factor in their success.
“I think the squad that we have put together has been really supportive of each other,” he said.
“On top of having some good players in the squad, we have got all good people and the vibe has been great the whole time.
“Everyone has been happy and when you are happy, you tend to play your best bowls.
“The cohesion of the squad has played a big part in it this season.”
Ashley knows his side will have its hands full against the Chargers once again this Friday night.
“They are a good side and they have their own star power across all the rinks, so it doesn’t particularly matter that we have beaten them both times this season, it is a fresh ball game this Friday night,” he said.
“We will just worry about what we can control and that’s all we can really do, because if we are good enough, we will get the job done.”
Ashley said it was also an exciting week for the Rogues with their under 21s also playing in a grand final on Friday night.
“We will have one change in our under 21s, with Amber (Walker), who had a holiday previously booked, missing out and Evie Exton comes in and gets an opportunity,” he said.
“Having the under 21s as part of the squad has been awesome for some of the more experienced players, because it gives you motivation to do well and it really does make you feel good seeing them do well and enjoying themselves.
“Hopefully they can get it done in the big game and even though they will be up against tough opposition, we have full faith in them.”
Chargers’ coach TJ Saunders said there were two ways one could look at his side having to do it the hard way last Friday night to qualify for the grand final.
“Sometimes people say it is best to get the matches in, while other times it works to get the win and have a rest,” he said.
“The Rogues thoroughly deserved the win on Friday night, they played well.
“For our guys we got to change up the line-up and had the opportunity to do something different.
“As a result, I think we go into the upcoming game with a good, fresh look.”
TJ said he was “really proud” of his players and their efforts so far this season.
“Due to COVID, Wayne Ruediger’s knee surgery was put off, so we lost him, and Fergus Rowntree, so they were two retained players we had to replace,” he said.
“Not to say the people that have come in are any lesser players, but we have gone in with a change to our plan and it has reduced our capacity a little bit, but everyone that has come in has played their hardest and we look forward to Friday night’s grand final, and hopefully we can get over the line.”
According to TJ, the Chargers will head into Friday night’s decider with a new-look line-up from the ones that took part in the semi-final and preliminary final.
“I think you are going to see a fresh line-up again,” he said.
“It is going to be something we haven’t done before.
“You give good bowlers more bowls and the line-up for this week is probably going to show that.
“The line-up we are coming in with hasn’t been done for the previous nine games, but we think it is the right formula for us.”
TJ was full of praise for his side’s opponent this Friday night.
“They are full of class,” he said.
“They have got some really accomplished players in there, but that is what you want to meet in a grand final, you don’t want to go in there and meet a B grade or a C grade team.
“They are on paper and have shown during the season that they are the best team, they thoroughly deserved to finish top.
“We look forward to coming up against them on Friday night.”