BLK DEWAR SHIELD PRELIMINARY FINAL PREVIEW
The BLK Dewar Shield moves into the Preliminary Final this coming weekend after Melbourne went down to Harlequins in the Major Semi Final and Box Hill overcame a committed Footscray outfit in the Minor Semi Final.
Melbourne are looking to bounce back this weekend after falling short against Harlequins but their opponents Box Hill will be coming in with plenty of confidence after their strong win against Footscray.
The Unicorns will need to put in a full 80 minute performance this weekend, as in their Semi Final loss they showed moments of brilliance but couldn’t sustain it consistently throughout the game.
The strengths they will look to build on from their Semi Final loss, will be their set piece accuracy that provided a great platform for them to attack off. They will also look to barnstorming centres Dave Massey and Afa Faatau to get the team over the advantage line.
Melbourne’s defence will be key this weekend as Box Hill is well known within the competition as having the ability to attack from anywhere on the field.
Key players for Melbourne this week will be Ikapote Tupai who will look to have a big game this weekend after missing out on the Semi Final due to illness. Halfback Thomas Donaldson will be hoping to take advantage of Melbourne’s strong set piece to provide his backs with front foot ball.
Box Hill will want to build on last weekends strong win against Footscray and take this momentum along with their four wins in a row into this do or die game against Melbourne
The Broncos will want to improve their ball handling and ball security this weekend as they left a number of points out on the park in their Minor Semi Final. This improved ball security will allow Box Hill to unleash their backline who are well known around the competition for their flair and ability to score, with some of the best tries of the 2017 season.
Box Hill’s forward pack will need to aim up against an experienced Melbourne Unicorns eight. If Melbourne is able to gain a dominance in this area it could lead to a long day for the Broncos. Veteran Lock and Box Hill stalwart Moses Haukinima will be key within Box Hill’s forward pack with his leadership being an indicator of Box Hill’s chances of challenging Melbourne’s forwards.
Recently selected Melbourne Rising ETS squad member and Haukinima’s locking partner Serupepeli Uru will also be key to Box Hill’s chances on Saturday. His ability in contact and his knack of getting the one handed offload away will be looked to in getting Box Hill moving forward and keeping the well drilled Unicorns defence on the back foot.
Results from the meetings between these two sides this year have gone each way, with Unicorns edging a victory, 20-17, and Box Hill repaying the favour in their second match up, 21-16.
The contrasting styles of the two teams will provide a great spectacle for all so make sure you get down to Harlequins RUC, Ashwood reserve to see which of these teams progress to face the undefeated Harlequins in the BLK Dewar Shield Grand Final next Saturday the 19th.