Chinchilla Bears take on Willowburn in grand final

FRESH LEGS: The Chinchilla Bears will play in the grand final this weekend for the third consecutive year in a row.
FRESH LEGS: The Chinchilla Bears will play in the grand final this weekend for the third consecutive year in a row.

FOOTBALL: THE Johnson Quality Builders Chinchilla Bears will play Toowoomba club Willowburn FC in the Toowoomba Football League Championship grand final this Sunday at Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba.

This is the Bears third successive appearance in the grand final where they lost to Highfields 1-0 last year, and were winners against Dalby in 2015. The Bears will be looking to continue their dominance over Willowburn after beating them 2-0 in the major semi-final two weeks ago. In the previous matches between these two teams, Chinchilla won at home 3-0, but in the return match at Willowburn they surprised the league leaders 2-0.

In the preliminary final Willowburn managed to sneak home last week against third placed Garden City in a penalty shootout after the nil-all scoreline after normal and extra time. But the Bears will have the fresh legs and will be looking to press the Willowburn defence early in the match.

The line-up for this weekend is a mixture of youth and experienced campaigners, but with finals football it sometimes can effect teams and individuals differently. Bears coach Brett Bowman has maintained a consistent starting eleven for the past three or four matches and will not look at changing a winning combination.

The squad is led by Captain Mark Johnson, Stuart Hope, Jonty Calleja, Matthew Hoffmann, Sean Bowman, Dan Harmon, James Cardillo, Maclaren Hope, Ross Cardillo, Matt Clarke, Chris McEvoy, Tim Taylor, Ben Smyth, Mathew Kusters, Ben Weber, Chris Cobb, Joe Hobbs, Dan Lowder and John McCullough.

Chinchilla's leading goal scorer Mark Johnson ended up the third highest in the league with 20 goals for the season, and Chris Cobb was next with 13 goals. The Bears will be looking to service these two players with quality ball passing to create some goal-scoring opportunities and keep Willowburn on the back foot.

Collectively the Bears have scored 67 goals this season and have the best stat for goals against with only 14 goals allowed past the defence. The Bears stats for the 22 game season were 18 wins, two losses and two draws.

Kick off is at 11am this Sunday at the Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba.

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