Division 1 - Qualifying/Elimination Final Review
With Good Will Hunter
East Brighton has booked itself a date with minor premier Dingley next week after a gutsy 23-point victory over East Malvern in Saturday’s Qualifying Final.
Intermittent drizzle made conditions at Springvale Reserve slippery and ensured a hard-fought, physical contest between the two sides. East Brighton certainly missed star playmaker Damien Rayson, who withdrew due to work commitments, and they didn’t play their best footy.
Nevertheless they were more polished by hand and foot when it mattered and led from go to woah.
Their opening term in particular was terrific. Five goals to one gave the reigning premiers a comfortable lead, with Phil Smith especially prominent early. The Big Show not only impacted the scoreboard (he finished with the match with three goals), but his ability to bring the ball to ground from the marking contests brought the crumbing players into the game.
By halftime their lead was 20 points and looked certain to be extended.
But the Vampires then switched into cruise control in the second half, which allowed the Panthers to bang on a couple of quick goals and get back within a kick halfway through the third term. East Malvern’s spread and ball movement were good, while their physical pressure was also outstanding.
However, the Vampires responded to the challenge, and finished the term with three straight goals to blow East Malvern away.
They held the at-times sloppy Panthers at arm’s length in the final term to claim victory, with skipper Ben Douthie and seasoned campaigners Damien Lynch and Toby Mahoney (three majors) among the best performed Vampires.
East Malvern ruckman Matt Terech was again superb, and he received ample support from Liam Voight, Benji Neal and Jesse Finnen.
On Sunday Mordialloc produced a turn-up for the books, defeating the in-form St Pauls in their Elimination Final by 15 points.
The win was made all the more impressive given the Bloods were a man down for much of the game, with speedy onballer Carey Neville injuring his shoulder early in the opening stanza and taking no further part in the match.
Despite this setback, Mordialloc played the better footy for much of the first half. Their dominance around the stoppages was first-class, with their halfbacks pushing up the ground to be the extra numbers at the contest.
Although St Pauls showed brief glimpses of its best footy with its quick ball movement down the wing, these moments were few and far between.
Both sides were deadlocked 3.4 apiece at the half, and the feeling was that Mordialloc simply didn’t get the scoreboard reward for their efforts.
That changed in the opening part of the second half as Mordialloc put through three consecutive goals to skip away to a handy buffer. However, just as the Bloods looked the goods, they let the Dogs off the leash, and they nailed three of their own to reduce the margin to three points by the final change.
That was as close a St Pauls got. With influential Dogs Brendan Dawes and Liam Wilson well muzzled after half time, the Bloods got on top in the midfield as Sam Anstey, Todd Bastion and David Marguglio won plenty of the ball.
And when Luke Barnhoorn nailed the Bloods’ third straight goal 15 minutes in, it ensured there was no way back for the Doggies.
Mordialloc’s onballers were tremendous, but defender Josh Jewell won plenty of fans with his blanket job on Travis Ridgeway, while up forward James Pennycuick made the most of his opportunities.
For St Pauls, ruckmen Nick Halliday and Ryan Kitchin where among the contributors and Keiran Knox and Trent McIntyre were serviceable in defence.
Division 2 - Qualifying/Elimination Final Review
With Jason Barbin
There was upset after upset in the first round of Southern footy finals and two games of exciting football brought about a lot of highlights.
Four first half goals from Alex Moloney lifted Murrumbeena to an upset 10.6 (66) to 9.4 (58) win against Keysborough in the Qualifying Final at Jack Barker Oval on Saturday. The Beena trailed by 17 points at quarter time after the Burra started strongly in the opening term, kicking four goals while Murrumbeena could only manage one.
Moloney single-handedly kicked Murrumbeena back into the game with three second quarter goals to bring his tally to four as the Beena’s defensive press halted Keysborough’s drive going forward.
Despite the efforts of Daniel Morland and coach Ryan Goodes, the Burra struggled to find a target forward with key forward Davor Rajic well held by the likes of Kane Downing. Although the momentum was going the way of Murrumbeena, Keysborough held a three-point advantage at half time.
Murrumbeena surged ahead early in the third term as its midfield began to control the clearances. Captain Mitch Walder and Dylan Elkman were stunning in the middle, driving the ball forward while Tom Valenta played an important role linking up off half back.
Rajic kicked his second goal of the day to help Keysborough close the gap but it would be the Beena who held a narrow one-point lead going into the final term.
With the game on the line, both sides lifted their intensity but again it would be Murrumbeena which had the momentum. Chris Cairns looked dangerous inside the Beena’s forward 50 while Sam Moloney imposed himself on the game with an impressive performance coming off the wing.
Goodes continued to be the driving force behind Keysborough’s attack going forward but several basic skill errors crept into the Burra’s game which Murrumbeena was able to capitalise on.
In the end Murrumbeena was simply too good on the day and its supporters roared in celebration when the final siren sounded to announce the Beena eight-point victors and set-up a semi-final contest against Oakleigh Districts.
Caulfield has caused another upset in Sunday’s Elimination Final after knocking out Skye 9.15 (69) to 9.8 (62) to set up a Semi Final clash with Keysborough. Glenn Nye and Adam Ballard both put in outstanding performances in the win which saw the Bears come from 13 points down at quarter time to earn a well-deserved victory.
Skye got away to a perfect start after kicking two of the first three goals to take a six-point lead early in the contest. After James Backway cut the margin to a point 13 minutes into the quarter, goals to Ben Walker and Ben Evans helped the Bombers hold a solid 11-point lead at the first change.
Caulfield lifted its intensity in the second quarter and it paid dividends with Sean Gunning and Backway kicking goals to again cut the margin back to a point midway through the term. Jim Martinson capped off an impressive first half performance with his first major to give the Bombers a little breathing heading into half time.
Trailing by six-points, Caulfield came out on top during the third quarter after some slick ball movement in the middle of the ground to set up shots on goal. Jason Twirdy and Jake Buggy both booted majors to put the Bears in front before Walker goaled to keep Skye within striking distance. Gunning’s second goal came at a crucial time with just minutes to play in the quarter to give Caulfield a nine-point advantage heading into the final break.
Skye jumped out of the blocks in the final term with goals to Marc Frizell and Matt Doyle putting the Bombers ahead after only a minute of play. Caulfield withstood the early pressure and steady to hit the front after a goal to Alex Cables before Adam Connell gave the Bears a 13-point advantage with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Two minutes later Walker banged home his third goal and it was game on at Jack Barker Oval. Both sides fought gallantly in the final minutes of the game and both had opportunities to goal but it would be Caulfield that held on for the win.
Division 3 - Semi Final Review
With Andrew Paloczi
Second Semi Final (Black Rock vs Mount Waverley)
Adrian Lane was superb throughout the day, playing a key role in Black Rock’s seven-goal triumph over Mount Waverley. Lane booted three goals and contributed to several others.
The match was played in heavy conditions, which promised to suit the more committed team. Black Rock was that team for most of the game.
Mount Waverley threatened to take control of proceedings with a strong finish to the first term. The Mountain Lions kicked the last three majors of the quarter, including an impressive snap from Michael Kinsella, and the Jets found themselves seven points down.
Black Rock’s players received praise at the huddle for their attack on the ball, but were urged to use the footy better.
They responded, with Lane booting a goal and contributing to a couple more. After marking, Lane again kicked truly and the Jets led by three goals. A strong mark and goal from Luke Galle helped keep Mount Waverley in touch and the Mountain Lions were only 11 points behind at half time.
Late in the second term the Mountain Lions suffered a major setback, losing versatile tall Drew Macrae, who had to be assisted from the field.
Mount Waverley remained in touch at the final change, trailing by 16 points.
However, in the final term Lane stepped up again for the Jets, marking and booting a goal from close range. Black Rock continued to apply intense pressure around the ground, tackling fiercely and showing desperation to win the ball. This was reflected on the scoreboard and, when the Jets kicked their second goal of the term seven minutes in, the margin blew out to 29 points.
By then, there was little prospect of a Mountain Lions’ comeback, and things worsened shortly after when Jarrod Wilkin received a green card. He had to spend the rest of the match on the bench. The big man’s aggression is often an asset for his side, but his dismissal ended any glimmer of hope for the Mountain Lions.
Lane was a standout for the winner, with Daniel Kick named next best. Everyone contributed for the Jets, and Tom Dalton and veteran Kelly Spratt were among many who impressed.
Black Rock looks in great shape with a week off before playing in a Grand Final that the Jets thoroughly deserve to be in.
The Mountain Lions will need to show plenty of character in the Preliminary Final. It will be a challenge to overcome the mental scars of the final term demolition inflicted on them by the Jets.
First Semi Final (Moorabbin vs Ashwood)
Ashwood started as firm favourite against Moorabbin, but the Kangaroos played with desperation and passion from the start and it proved to be a thrilling contest.
After Ricky O’Brien goaled for the Magpies in the final term, they trailed the Kangaroos by five points. With only 12 minutes elapsed, it appeared Ashwood would overtake Moorabbin. The Kangaroos had not been behind at any stage, despite fierce pressure from the Magpies in the second half.
In the frantic final minutes each side managed a behind. Finally, 23 minutes in, Trent Davey marked for the Kangaroos. He goaled on the siren to give Moorabbin an 11-point win.
With the icy wind behind it in the third term, Ashwood had threatened to wipe out Moorabbin’s 21-point half time advantage, but the Kangaroos’ backline repelled numerous attacks. Matthew Johansson spent most of the term in the backline and helped inspire his Kangaroo teammates.
The defensive efforts of Moorabbin only allowed Ashwood to pull the margin back to 13 points at three quarter time.
It was a credit to Ashwood that it won the last term despite being against the wind, but it would have been an injustice for the Kangaroos to be defeated after playing well from the outset.
Sean Kelly got Moorabbin off to a positive start, kicking the team’s first goal of the game and he continued to play well. The Kangaroos skipped out to a 20-point lead during the first term, but Ashwood hit back, cutting the Moorabbin lead to just seven points at the first change.
Ashwood coach Mick Rossborough urged his players to take the momentum into the second quarter, but it was the Kangaroos who booted the first three majors of the term to help establish a crucial half time buffer.
Zdenek Hostalek took on plenty of ruckwork for the Kangaroos in the absence of Liep Kuel and was a valuable contributor around the ground. He kicked a goal and was named the winner’s best player. Trent Davey found form with four of the Kangaroos’ goals, and teammate Kelly chipped in with three and was named the side’s second best.