Heat turned up for finals
Footy fans of the West Kimberley are set to experience what could be an explosive finals series after the home and away season came to a close.
Bidyadanga Emus, Cable Beach Greenbacks, Broome Bulls and Derby Tigers, will go head to head in the three-week series, starting this Saturday.
After finishing in the top two, the Emus and Greenbacks will be given a second chance to make the grand final through the preliminary final, while it will be do or die for the Bulls and Tigers.
Here is an in-depth look at the finalists and how they got to where they are.
Emus may be known as a flightless birds but the Bidyadanga Emus have certainly been flying high over the competition this season, emerging as clear frontrunners.
Although there were a number of close calls throughout the season, particularly in their matches against Cable Beach, the Emus managed to remain undefeated in 2019 so far.
With stand-out players like Kamahl Bamba, Angelo Thomas, Jesse Bloomer and Selwyn Hunter, and the strong leadership of coach Keith Hunter, the Emus could continue their excellent form and secure their fourth premiership and second in four years.
The Emus’ last finals appearance was in 2018 but they fell short of reaching the grand final after losing to Cable Beach in the preliminary final by 58 points.
Cable Beach Greenbacks
The Cable Beach Greenbacks have also been clear frontrunners throughout the season, with plenty of dominant victories to boot and certainly honouring the legacy of the late Brett Claudius.
Under the leadership of Shaun Bin Swani, the Greenbacks had won all but two games this season — their only losses to the Bidyadanga Emus by less than a goal.
Consistent standout players like Jordan King, Dion Parriman, Sonny Dann and Ben De Meo could give the Greenbacks the edge if they continue their formula of domination during the finals.
The Greenbacks will be looking to avenge their 2018 grand final loss and hope to obtain their seventh flag in a little over a decade and eighth overall.
The Broome Bulls have endured a bit of a rollercoaster season this year, managing to secure third place on the ladder with eight wins to their name.
With player-coach Luke Matthews at the helm, the Bulls had an inconsistent start to the season but rose to the occasion later on with a number of big victories.
Standout players like Aaron Hitchcock, Hayden McLeod, Daniel Dwyer and Gerrard Ansey could see the Bulls continue building momentum and make the charges towards their seventh premiership.
The Bulls’ most recent finals appearance was in 2017 when they defeated the Derby Tigers by just two points to win the flag.
The finals series is always a stressful time for players and fans in the Kimberley town of Derby, who are desperate to finally break a 35-year premiership drought.
Despite playing some incredible footy in recent years, the Tigers have not won a flag since 1984 when they were known as the Derby Hawks.
And while the flag may seem out of reach this year, as the side dropped off in form in the second half of the season, they remain a side that can never be counted out.
With players such as last year’s equal league best and fairest Wade Wungundin, key forward Rhonen Maher and standouts for the year Lachlan Chapman, Buddy Malay and Deon Alec all playing solid footy, Derby could be the dark horse.
They have come close to glory in recent years, making it to the top four last year and losing the grand final by a heartbreaking two points in 2017.
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