It’s that time of the year people. I know we’ve all been looking forward to it. The showpiece of the Gridiron Victoria season, played at an inner city marquee stadium on what will hopefully be a sunny spring afternoon/evening. As personally shattered and (Ranger) green with envy as I am not to be in the big game myself, I am looking forward to the best of our league being on display on what will hopefully be a hugely successful event for both GV and the sport in general. Hooray for football.

It’s VicBowl XXXII, and as with the Division 2 Championship Game VI, allow me to rehash the same Roman numeral joke from yesterday and spit some pointless history at ya!

  • In Superbowl XXXII, John Elway finally put a life time of NFC beatings behind him, leading the Denver Broncos to their first ever NFL Championship with a win over the Green Bay Packers, via helicopter.
  • That’s it, I’ve run out of jokes. It was bound to happen.

Sunday 16th October – Lakeside Oval, Albert Park – 4:00pm

Monash Warriors (1st Place, 11-1) vs Western Crusaders (2nd Place, 9-3)

  • Week 4: Monash Warriors defeat Western Crusaders 8-0
  • Week 11 : Monash Warriors defeat Western Crusaders 42-3

Games between these two teams have been tabbed as the potential VicBowl preview all season, and both teams have been the most consistent performers. Don’t let the last result between them in Week 11 fool you: This intrepid reporter believes that many a back-up got some game time in the second half for the Cru, causing things to blow out just a tad.

Monash Warriors – Keys to the Game

Experience: This will be the Warriors 15th Vicbowl appearance this century, from 17 opportunities (their only non-appearances being 2003 and 2011). That is quite simply extraordinary, and with 10 victories and a couple of three-peats in that time, they are a team with veteran players that simply know how to get it done on the big day.

Offensive Line and Run Game: As someone who has been around for the entirety of the Warriors “Millennial Dynasty”, I have always thought that the main reason they have been so successful is their ability to play high percentage-low risk offensive football, due to their individual talent at Offensive Line and Runningback. In the past it was greats like Wayne Hartley paving the way for Lincoln Decker, and now we have Jon Tostevin and Pat Mottram making holes for Australian runner Luke Jackson. Expect this to be a deciding factor in the result once again.

Western Crusaders – Keys to the Game

Defence: I can tell you from first hand experience that the Crusaders possess one of the most athletic defences seen in this league for a long time, with tremendous team speed and flow to the football. If players like Jnala Saluni, Andrew James and Harrison De Lai can make some big plays early and force the Warriors out of their ball control offence, it could go a long way to winning the game.

Tyson Garnham and Samuel De Lai: The Crusader offence is not complicated, but it is extremely effective due to the raw speed and cutback ability possessed by these two players. If the Cru can effectively execute plays and blocking that allow these two to get the ball in space, they can outrun anyone to the endzone and score points in a hurry. Let’s call them “The Continuum Twins”. All they need is Space and Time (that’s the lamest joke I’ve used all year. I am so happy with it).

It’s prediction time now I guess, and it’s a really tough one to call, as you have to balance achievement (Warriors) with potential (Crusaders). It’s important to note that despite perhaps being more talented on paper, the Crusaders still have yet to beat the Warriors this year. My view of the game could also be tainted by my personal recent experience (Can beat the Warriors, Destroyed by the Cru). Either way, it is very much a toss up game. So let’s toss a coin! Heads Warriors, Tails Crusaders….

(Flip, flip, flip)

It’s a head gentleman (In my best Paul Mercer impersonation).   

Stafford’s “I really did just flip a coin in my office” Prediction:       Warriors 22, Crusaders 16

I look forward to seeing everyone at both games on Sunday, enjoy the VicBowl at Lakeside. Good luck to all teams, and also an in advance congratulations to those who will be named as GV major award winners and All-GV Team (My boy Johnny Tanuvasa is a lock for Rookie of the Year).

Did you miss the Division 2 preview?

Gridiron Victoria VIC BOWL XXXII Preview

Jamie Stafford

Tina Fey-loving current starting QB (at least until Richie gives me the hook) of the Croydon Rangers in Gridiron Victoria, as well as the Head Coach of the Croydon Rangers women's team. I once got my hair washed by a total stranger in a Subiaco salon at 5am while playing for the 2004 Victorian team. That was a good day.

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