PRESSURE: Gympie Diggers captain Joachim Klein (left) chases Lachlan Kenny during Diggers’ 5-1 win over Doon Villa earlier in the season.
PRESSURE: Gympie Diggers captain Joachim Klein (left) chases Lachlan Kenny during Diggers’ 5-1 win over Doon Villa earlier in the season. James Loose

Final same as any game for the Diggers

GYMPIE Diggers coach Jeff Manthey says his job is done before tonight's A-grade Fraser Coast League grand final even starts.

"There's no point me trying to psyche the boys up or anything, I've just told them there's no difference between this game and every other match we've played this season," he said.

"Some other coaches might be saying that anything can happen in a grand

final, but anything can happen any game we play.

"We're very confident for the match, and should win if we play like we have all year."

Diggers have gone through the Fraser Coast League season undefeated, and qualified for tonight's final with a 4-3 win over United Warriors in the major semi-final two weeks ago, with Nick Mercer scoring the winner with just two minutes on the clock.

Standing in the way of Diggers' second consecutive FCL title is Maryborough club Doon Villa, which beat Sunbury 4-2 in the first week of finals before scoring three second-half goals to upset United in the preliminary final last week.

"Doon Villa can play good soccer when they want, but they like to mix it up with a lot of physicality," Manthey said.

"Our main focus is to shut down to supply to their Golden Boot winning striker, Joel Neilson.

"He sort of floats around and picks the right moments to strike, so we'll be looking for centre-backs Nathan Nolan and Percy Cash to shut him down.

"We'll also implement a high pressing game to force them to play the long balls over the top.

"In attack we'll aim to get the ball wide and create time and space for the midfield and forwards, as well as keep the ball moving at a good

tempo.

"When we lose the ball in attack we also need to be able to transition well to defence instantly, and visa-versa.

"The best way to defend is to keep the ball though, so we'll just let our attack build and not try to force the killer pass all the time."

Midfielder Aaron Walker is unlikely to make his return from a hip injury, but apart from that Diggers will field a full-strength side.

They hold the upper hand against Villa this season, with 2-1, 5-2 and 5-1 victories in the teams' three clashes.

"I think having the week off after the semi-final has been an advantage for us, and the boys are fresh and ready to go," Manthey said.

"We've beaten them three times this year, and being a grand final is no reason for us not to beat them again."

DIGGERS

4-3-3 formation

  • Goalkeeper: Tim Kross
  • Defenders: Grant Luhrs (RB), Nathan Nolan (CB), Percy Cash (CB), Justin O'Connell (LB)
  • Midfielders: Oliver Wittkopf (defensive), Dion Egden (attacking), Joachim Klein (c) (attacking)
  • Forwards: Ethan Boreham (RF), Billy Bayldon (CF), Nick Mercer (LF)
  • Substitutes: Lachlan Manthey, Tom Wheeler, Dylan McClelland
Gympie Times


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