REDEMPTION: The Eastern Swans and North Mackay Saints meet in the finals once again, after the Swans knocked their rivals out of contention last season.
REDEMPTION: The Eastern Swans and North Mackay Saints meet in the finals once again, after the Swans knocked their rivals out of contention last season. Aidan Cureton

Saint to rival Swans: 'I feel sorry for them'

NORTH Mackay Saints full back Chayse Tilley has a message for the Eastern Swans' back six ahead of tomorrow's blockbuster qualifying final at Zeolla Park: Good luck.

Tilley is acutely aware of the damage the North Mackay forward line can inflict when firing on all cylinders, because he has to train against it two nights a week.

Preparing for what he describes as the Saints' "biggest test” so far this season, Tilley expects the match to be won and lost in the midfield - and in his mind no engine room comes close to that of North Mackay's.

When the midfield and forward line link up, it is like poetry in motion.

"Our midfield group, I would put them in the elite category,” Tilley said.

"Their run and carry and numbers to the ball is second-to-none.

"Then, when they deliver into the forward line we have a lot of strong, marking forwards and great ground ball players.

"They will be pretty hard to match up on. I feel sorry for the Swans backline coming into this one.”

But for all the talk of the Saints' forward potency, it was the Swans who paced the competition with most points scored over 19 regular season fixtures.

Led by Luke Ball (54 goals) and Stuart Buckley (36) the Swans forward line could lay claim to the title of best in the business.

As a key cog in the Saints' back six, Tilley welcomed the challenge.

"Swans have always had a strong forward line. The pressure will be on our midfield group to pressure the Swans ball carriers and limit the supply into the forward 50,” he said.

Tilley was part of the North Mackay side which was knocked out of the finals last season by the Swans.

"Finals footy hasn't been our forte for the last few years. But this year there is a different feeling amongst the group,” he said.

"We have a lot more confidence. Having that home ground advantage helps.”



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