Division 1 - Semi Final Review
With Good Will Hunter
Dingley are the first team through to the Division 1 decider after a 16-point come-from-behind victory over East Brighton in Saturday's Second Semi Final.
It was tough, hard, physical and congested for most of the day, which played into East Brighton's hands. In fact the game was played predominantly on the Vampires' terms in the first half, before the Dingoes managed to wrestle back control of the match in the last half hour and surge ahead on the back of five second-half goals from Calhan McQueen.
The Vampires drew first blood with a goal two minutes in, but the two sides traded majors for the majority of the opening term. A late goal to Vampire Steve Murphy ensured his side led by 9 points at the first change.
This advantage was swiftly extended to 20 points with two goals inside the first five minutes of the second term, and try as they might the Dingoes simply couldn't bridge the gap.
Consecutive goals either side of the long break to Toby Mahoney gave the Vampires back a three-goal advantage before they went into lockdown. More than 12 goalless minutes elapsed before a major to McQueen broke the drought and completely changed the dynamic of the match.
The Dingoes were then able to win more ball on the outside, took the game on and simply left the Vampires in their wake with their run and spread.
In the end they stormed home, booting six of the last seven goals of the match to run over the top of the Vampires and into the Grand Final.
McQueen was certainly the difference between the two sides, and simply unstoppable up forward for the Dingoes with six goals. His hands was terrific, clunking plenty of marks inside 50 (including two contested marks in the goal square in the dying minutes which iced the game), and had it not been for a couple of wayward early shots on goal, he could have ended up with eight or nine goals.
He and Marcus Freeman combined for nine of their sides 10 majors.
Tom Wright was also terrific in blanketing East Brighton's dangerous spearhead Phil Smith, restricting him to just one goal for the day, while ruckman Stu Cleeve, onballers Jackson Peet and Luke Bartholomew and skipper Tony Lavars were also prominent.
Murphy was a prolific ball-winner and a clear standout for the Vampires, while they also had solid contributions from Ben Douthie, Tom Backman and Hamish Dahl.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the victory from Dingley’s perspective was that they stood up when their backs were against the wall. The Vampires dictated the play for the first two and a half quarters, and not only did the Dingoes absorb their pressure – something they succumbed to in both of last year’s finals against East Brighton – but they were able to rise above it and get the game back on their terms. This will go some way to exorcising the demons of 2014.
For East Brighton they must regroup before they get another shot at a Grand Final berth next Sunday.
On Sunday Mordialloc overcame a lacklustre start to stun East Malvern and advance to the Preliminary Final.
The Bloods certainly did it the hard way, kicking a wayward 8.20 in their narrow nine-point victory. This was a match that should have been decided by a much greater margin, given they registered 14 more scoring shots than their opponent.
Granted, the game was played in blustery conditions, however, that was not the overriding factor behind their woeful inaccuracy. Rather, some missed shots early on in the piece eroded the side’s confidence in front of goal, and when the pressure mounted later on in the contest, it simply became endemic.
Thankfully for their sake, they didn’t pay the ultimate price.
Despite kicking with a strong breeze in the opening term, Mordialloc were slow out of the blocks and comprehensively outplayed by a red-hot East Malvern outfit. The Panthers nailed the first four goals of the match and raced to a handy early buffer before the Bloods even knew what hit them.
They showed a bit more fight in the second, the Bloods, applying more pressure around the contest and turning the game into an arm wrestle. In doing so, the Panthers were restricted to just two goals with the wind, but were still 16-point leaders at the half.
But it seemed the men in red and white weren’t done and came out all guns blazing in the second half. Their third term in particular showcased the best of the Bloods as they got on top around the contests and found their outside run.
They made the Panthers look tired as Joel Waters and James Keighley starred around the wings and forward flanks with several telling touches. But as dominant as Mordialloc were, they booted a wasteful 4.10 for the term and blew a golden opportunity to put the Panthers away.
As expected the final stanza was tight as the Bloods held on grimly to their slender lead. The Panthers always looked a chance to nab two quick goals with the breeze and pinch the win, however, Mordialloc were resolute until the final siren.
Waters and Keighley were the catalysts for the win, providing the spark that jolted Mordialloc back to life in the second half. Daniel Quinn and Shane Van Velsen were both outstanding in the ruck – Van Velsen also booted a crucial goal in the third term – while Josh Jewell was also tremendous in defence for the winners.
Paul De Koeyer, Ralph Sadler and Andrew Johnson were all prominent for East Malvern, but Matt Terech, who rucked tirelessly all day – a herculean effort on the vast expanses of Springvale Reserve – was again by far their best
While that’s the end of the road for the East Malvern, a date with East Brighton looms next Sunday in what will be the penultimate match of the Division 1 season.
Division 2 - Semi Final Review
With Jason Barbin
Semi Final action was upon us at the Southern Football Netball League and it brought about some interesting results heading into the Preliminary Final.
Oakleigh District comfortably accounted for a battle-worn Murrumbeena at Jack Barker Oval last Saturday, booking its spot in the 2015 Grand Final after a 45-point win. The Oaks forward combination of Josh Hill, Khaled Kandakji and Dave Velado were superb in the win, booting 11 goals between them while the Beena had eight individual goal kickers.
Pat Carroll and Mitch Walder were named as the best for their respective clubs in a match that saw Murrumbeena jump out of the blocks, surprising Oakleigh District to take a three-point advantage into the quarter time break.
Oakleigh turned it on in the second term and slowly began to get on top in a hard fought midfield battle. The likes of Walder, Declan Turkington and the returning Tom Cameron did their best to curtail the influence of Oakleigh’s midfielders but the Oaks were slick in their ball movement, resulting in four goals in the quarter, taking the lead and holding an 18-point half time advantage.
The second half comeback was made more tough for Murrumbeena after utility Josh Wright went down with an ankle injury in the second term, one that saw him miss the rest of the contest. The injury seemed to spur Murrumbeena to greater heights and it found itself in control of the play for patches during the third term.
The Beena had their opportunities to cut the margin but missed multiple chances to put intense pressure on the Oaks, who took a 16-point lead into the final change.
Oakleigh Districts found the midas touch in the final quarter, booting six goals to break away from Murrumbeena to turn a tightly-contested game into a comfortable win.
Murrumbeena fought hard defensively all day, but the offensive firepower of Oakleigh proved too much in the end, and the Oaks became the first team to book a spot in the Division 2 Grand Final.
Caulfield has caused possibly the biggest finals upset seen in the entirety of the Southern Football Netball League this season, comfortably accounting for Keysborough to the tune of 40 points.
Full forward Adam Connell and midfielder Dylan Beattie were at their absolute best, booting nine majors between them while Tim Kennedy and Glenn Nye were also impressive out on the park.
Keysborough got solid performances from Daniel Moreland and Will Gayfer, while Gayfer, Moreland, Davor Rajic and Tim Bacic all kicked two goals.
The match looked set to be a shootout early in the opening term as both sides went to work converting their opportunities inside forward 50. It would be the Burra who held the first advantage and went into quarter time with a two-point lead.
Caulfield put the foot down on the accelerator in the second quarter, taking a comprehensive 29-point lead after booting six goals while holding Keysborough to just one to take a confidence-boosting advantage into the main break.
Not to be outdone, Keysborough hit back in the third term, cutting the margin to 10 points after booting four goals, but perhaps should have taken the lead after several wasted opportunities saw it register eight behinds for the quarter.
Caulfield seemed to have no problems with accuracy as it again raced away in the final term, booting seven goals to put the win out of reach of the highly-fancied Keysborough, and not only causing a massive upset but also knocking out a premiership favourite in straight sets.
Division 3 - Preliminary Final Review
With Andrew Paloczi
Moorabbin made the early running in the Preliminary Final, having three goals on the board before Mount Waverley could register a score.
The Mountain Lions were struggling to get momentum and were under pressure in defence, when the Kangaroos conceded a free kick and subsequent 50 metre penalty.
Mount Waverley seized on the release of pressure, kicking its first goal and quickly adding a couple more. When Ian Taylor booted his second goal, 15 minutes into the quarter, the Mountain Lions hit the front. By the time the siren rang out their lead was 14 points, courtesy of their fourth consecutive major. The Kangaroos were anchored on three goals straight.
Moorabbin’s players were advised at the huddle to show accountability and discipline and to focus on the ball, and not risk giving away further 50 metre penalties.
With the first goal of the second quarter, the team in green and gold looked menacing and threatened to break away. However, Moorabbin rallied and when Dayne Schipper wobbled through a Kangaroos’ goal on the half time siren, it cut the Mountain Lions’ advantage to two points.
Mount Waverley managed four goals to two in the third term including an impressive set shot from the boundary line by Taylor.
However, it took plenty of work for the Mountain Lions to gain their three quarter time lead. The Kangaroos edged in front at the eight-minute mark of the third term when Mark Russell nailed a set shot; Mount Waverley had to wait until Taylor’s goal to regain the advantage. By then 16 minutes had elapsed.
The Mountain Lions then added a couple more majors late in the quarter.
Sitting 13-points adrift with a term to go, the Kangaroos needed a big effort but had a bit of a breeze going their way. They threatened a number of times during the final quarter, and the margin mostly hovered around two goals in favour of the Mountain Lions.
The last term became an arm wrestle in which neither team could manage a major until Mount Waverley goaled at the 17-minute mark. This pushed the lead out to three goals and it looked to be enough, but the determined Sean Kelly rose to the occasion for Moorabbin. He took a strong contested mark and made no mistake with his shot for goal.
Entering time on, a Mount Waverley player rushed a behind, reducing his side’s lead to a precarious 11 points.
But the Kangaroos’ scoring had finished for the day and the Mountain Lions made the result look a little more comfortable with a Cameron Kirkup goal on the siren. The 17-point winning margin was fitting. Mount Waverley was the slightly better side.
Lachlan Rose was named the winner’s best ahead of skipper Richard Mathers, whilst Zdenek Hostalek and Sean Kelly were prominent again for the Kangaroos.
The Mountain Lions celebrated a hard-earned victory with an enthusiastic rendition of their unique club song.
They then promptly returned to the field to do some stretching and to start focusing on next week’s Grand Final. Their steely resolve was apparent and it was clear how much they want to sing that song again on Grand Final day. But Black Rock presents another big challenge.