Stage set for preliminary final showdown

MCDFL - The stage is set for a Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League showdown between Navarre and Maldon in tomorrow's preliminary final at Princes Park, Maryborough.

Navarre is looking for their second grand final berth in a row, while Maldon will be out for revenge following two narrow losses to the Grasshoppers this season.

Earlier this year, the Grasshoppers travelled to Maldon and snatched victory with a goal to Louis Hannett in the dying moments of the match and a month ago they overran the Bombers by 16 points.

Navarre coach Daniel Parkin is expecting a tough contest.

"It will be another one of those games - flip a coin, and whoever wins falls over the line. We need to play how we played against Trentham, for all four quarters and if we do we should go close (to winning)," Parkin said.

Maldon have a couple of forwards in Leigh Harrison and David Carroll that Parkin is wary of, so defenders Sam Robinson and Daniel Fitzell will be important keys to nullifying their influence on the match.

Going head-to-head in the midfield will be Navarre's Jeremy Harrington, Daniel Reading and Parkin against highly rated Maldon onballers Tom Cain and Hayden Kelly.

Parkin said Maldon have a few key defenders that the forward line, including Kris Brennan and Louis Hannett, will have to negotiate around.

The 16 point win against Maldon last month was a struggle, but once Navarre navigated their way through the Bombers zone set-up, they were able to play the game on their terms which is something Parkin hopes will occur tomorrow.

"The ground (Princes Park) has open spots and Maldon love their contested, hard ball gets. Hopefully we can open it up with our running game and if we don't win the first contest, it's going to be a long, hard day for us," Parkin said.

"We spoke about the zone last night and how to counteract it. We don't want to be herded into one side of the ground. We'll have to open it up, use the opposite side and do the old-fashioned switch."

The coach is unfazed by the fact that Maldon have had the luxury of the week off, saying the Grasshoppers suffered no major injuries in the win against Trentham, they played well and can take that good form into tomorrow's do-or-die clash.

Navarre trained in Ballarat on Tuesday night with just a light skills session, making sure their bodies are in the best possible shape.

The Grasshoppers have proven they can rise to the challenge under pressure and although they played finals in 2011, Parkin said his side has to perform on the day.

"If we have 15 people performing, we can almost write it off as a loss. We need all 22 players to stand up. We don't just need the top five players to play well, but the bottom five or six to stand up."

Jeremy Harrington, Matt Newton and Ash Driscoll are players who have stood up to become regular senior players in 2012 and tomorrow it will be important for them to continue their good form.

Parkin warns that forward Kris Brennan is one to watch after booting three goals at the weekend.

"Kris is a very handy forward. He's got a bit of touch back after missing a couple of games earlier because he was overseas and if he fires, good luck controlling him," Parkin said.

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