GAME ON: Bay Power will be out to exorcise the demons of seasons past when they host Brothers Bulldogs in the AFL Wide Bay elimination final at Keith Dunne Oval, Urangan tomorrow.
GAME ON: Bay Power will be out to exorcise the demons of seasons past when they host Brothers Bulldogs in the AFL Wide Bay elimination final at Keith Dunne Oval, Urangan tomorrow. Matthew McInerney

Can the Power avoid a repeat of last year's fall?

AUSSIE RULES: It can only be described as a bizarre set of circumstances but Bay Power has found itself in a near-identical position to the one it was in one year ago.

The Power finished in a three-way tie for first, but Hervey Bay Bombers and Gympie Cats' superior percentage meant the Urangan club finished third on the table.

It means they will be forced to battle through three sudden games if it is to win a maiden AFL Wide Bay flag, a run that starts with tomorrow's elimination final against Brothers Bulldogs at Keith Dunne Oval.

If you feel like you have read that line before, you aren't far off the money.

Save for a change to the competition title and the identity of this week's opponents, the Power faced this exact scenario in 2017.

Then, the Power was forced into a do-or-die battle with the Bombers after two byes, a forfeit and last-round win.

Hervey Bay won that day, knocking out the Power and avenging 2016's preliminary final when the Power staged an extraordinary second half comeback to claim a place in the grand final at the expense of its nearest rivals.

That is all in the past, and Power coach Michael Gay, in his fifth year in the role, is focused purely on trying to bring the first flag to Urangan.

The side enters the finals having lost three of its past five games - a slide which turned a potential minor premiership and choice of major semi final destination into the toughest possible path to the grand final.

"I think it's a better preparation. Last year we had two weeks off coming into the finals," Gay said. "Having the three losses in a few hard games, then the game last week to work on a few things.

 

"The boys are fresh, the skill levels are up, confidence is good, the vibe is really good and the young guys - we've got 12 guys under 20 and another three or four who are 24 and under - most of the kids are young, and it becomes a mindset for them.

"They've got finals experience coming up through the junior ranks, but the last two years we've been playing in finals. The experience they would've gained through those losses and that feeling coming off the ground after a loss, you can take that into account.

"Hopefully they would've learned over the last couple of years - a few of those young guys played in our losing grand final, so they can take that hurt into this game."

The Power will host the Bulldogs, a team that won three straight games before they the Bombers put the Bulldogs to the sword last week.

The Bombers' restricted the Bundaberg club to just 39 points, its worst attacking production of the season.

It was the least points Brothers had scored since the first round clash with the Power at Keith Dunne Oval.

The Bulldogs became a different breed as the season went on, and built an average attacking output of 15.8 goals and 107 points per game.

"They're really a team to watch," Gay said. "It's exciting times, if we're all consistent on the paddock, our players and officials and that, it should be a cracking game of footy."

First bounce at 4pm.



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