CPL Roar into Season Decider

Photo courtesy of Meaghan Clark 

DIVISION 1 – Qualifying and Elimination Finals WRAP-UP

With Good Will Hunter

Qualifying Final - St Pauls v East Brighton
East Brighton has drawn first blood in the 2014 SFL SAS Security Final Series with a comprehensive 41-point win over rivals St Pauls in the Qualifying Final on Saturday afternoon.

The Vampires were dominant through the middle of the ground and unlike their opponents made the most of their early chances inside 50, resulting in a 16-point quarter time buffer.

East Brighton then upped the ante in the second term and extended their advantage, but just when it looked like they were about to blow the game open, the Dogs found another gear, banging on three late goals in quick succession to trail by just five points at half time.

Unfortunately that was as close as they got, with the Vampires reclaiming control in the centre and streaking away in the second half. The pressure they applied to the St Pauls’ ball-carriers was immense, forcing them to make poor decisions and uncharacteristic skill errors. East Brighton’s slick ball movement through the middle proved a decisive factor with David De Luca and Mitch Garvey the standouts.

Big Hamish Dahl also provided his onballers with first use of the pill through his sublime ruckwork and the ever-reliable Liam Bowman was tremendous in defence.

For the Dogs, Owen Lewis and James Bragagnolo worked hard through the midfield while the Marasco brothers were solid in the back half.

Elimination Final - Cheltenham v Chelsea Heights
On Sunday Chelsea Heights pulled off a memorable come-from-behind win over Cheltenham in an epic Elimination Final.

As expected it went down to the wire, with the Heighters prevailing by just five points to end what’s been a disappointing season for the boys from Jack Barker Oval.

The Rosellas flew out of the blocks, booting the first six goals of the game to lead by 35 points as the clock ticked into time on in the first term. They smashed the Heighters in every facet of the game and with Brett Cuy and Ben Fahey finding plenty of the footy and Andrew Milesi starring down back, it was looking like a case of how far Cheltenham.

The Heighters briefly rallied in the third term to get within four points at the fifteen-minute mark, but the Rosellas quickly responded with three majors in six minutes to take a 21-point lead into the final change.

But with their backs to the wall Chelsea Heights found another level and put in a performance for the ages. With Cheltenham looking spent the Heighters slammed home five unanswered goals in 14 blistering minutes to steal a nine-point lead. A late major to Chris Bennetts got the Rosellas back within a kick, but the final siren beat them as they made one final push forward.

Heighters’ ruckman Matt Terech was dominant around the ground while veteran Darren Walsh stood up when it mattered with two crucial final-term goals. But Jordan Peryman was again best afield, winning a stack of possessions and taking the game on with his run and carry through the guts.


DIVISION 2 – Qualifying and Elimination Finals WRAP-UP

With Jason Barbin

The finals are finally upon us and with minor premier Mordialloc having the week off, four other teams would battle it out to see who would progress into week two.

Qualifying Final – Skye v Caulfield;
Second placed Skye took on 3rd placed Caulfield in the qualifying final held at Jack Barker oval in Cheltenham in what ended up as a hard fought contest. Skye went into this match as favourites and started off the game in the best possible way. The Bombers jumped out of the box early and quickly raced away to a 13 point lead. It looked like Skye's defensive pressure was going to get the best of the Bears and a comfortable victory was on the cards. The second quarter was a different story as Caulfield came out firing and though they weren't able to capitalise on their opportunities, they were able to reduce the margin to just 7 points at half time.

After a few hard truths, the Bombers turned it on in the third quarter, breaking the lines and finding multiple avenues to goal. Matt Watts and Mark Fedderson were able to hit the scoreboard in the absence of Luke Mcguinness, who like Bears power forward Adam Connell, was being well held. Skye were able to break the game open through the run and carry of Ben Evans and Jim Martinson and extended their lead to 30 points at the end of the third quarter. The final quarter played out much like the second. Both sides and many opportunities to hit the scoreboard but they turned into wasteful opportunities as Skye held on to win by 29 points.

Elimination Final – Hampton v Highett;
Fourth placed Hampton took on fifth placed Highett in a battle for survival. The stakes were simple, win and move on, lose and go home. Hampton had the edge going into the match, having won their previous two encounters with the Dogs. With a lot to prove in this match, both sides started well, adjusting easily to the bigger ground at Cheltenham, Highett quickly building a 7 point lead at quarter time. That lead quickly extended during the second quarter as the veteran leadership provided by Pat Singh and Pete Poelsma proved to be a vital cog in the early dominance by Highett as they went into halftime leading by 17 points.
Like the qualifying final, the third quarter was a completely different story and after receiving a rev up during the main break, the Hammers clicked into gear. Young gun Josh Burbidge played a pivotal role in the fight back and key forward Chris Worner was able to hit the scoreboard as the Hammers kicked 4 goals, keeping Highett scoreless to go into the final term with an 11 point lead. The Hammer didn't let up in the final quarter and they managed to keep the comeback kings at bay. Justin Isaac capped off a best on ground performance with a scintillating final quarter as the Hammers held on to win by 16 points and move on to week two of the finals.


DIVISION 3 – Semi Finals 2&1 WRAP-UP

With Andrew Paloczi

Semi Final 2 - Mount Waverley versus Carrum Patterson Lakes;

The clash between Mount Waverley and Carrum Patterson Lakes will long be remembered as a thrilling contest between two committed and skilful teams, and would have made a worthy grand final.

As well as the expectation of a close match, there was a focus on James Gough and his chance to bring up 100 goals for the season. When the imposing Mountain Lion booted his second major for the day in the third term, it sparked a ground invasion as supporters joined in the celebrations.

But another forward stole the show. CPL’s Joel Dalton had two goals by three quarter time, but put on a spectacular performance in the last term. After a pass from Adam Lello, Dalton kicked truly bringing his team within 4 points of the Mountain Lions. He followed up promptly with another from a free kick to put the Lions ahead. By the 10-minute mark, Dalton had added a couple more and CPL was in command with a 13-point advantage.

Although the Mountain Lions hit back with an accurate shot from Ian Taylor to get within 7 points, CPL responded, going on to a deserved 9-point victory. The Lions grabbed the first spot in the grand final, and earned a rest.

Dalton finished with six goals, a noteworthy accomplishment in a team total of nine. Lello was critical in the second half and finished with a couple of goals, also setting up other attacking moves for the Lions.

The game was close throughout the day. Under blue skies it was a surprise that neither side was able to kick a goal during the first term. The Mountain Lions held a one-point lead going into the second quarter, but it was CPL by 15 points at half time.

The Mountain Lions took charge in the third term, booting four majors, but CPL managed a critical late goal to trail by only 3 points at the final change. The stage was set for Dalton’s heroics, and the Lions supplied the Sherrin to him with aplomb.

Semi Final 1 - Sandown versus Lyndale

A barnstorming third term, kicking into a strong wind, inspired Lyndale to a
37-point triumph over Sandown. Such was Lyndale’s commitment, it outscored Sandown four goals to one in the premiership quarter, with the Cobras’ only goal coming from an impressive snap by Frank Martinicchio.

Things looked good for the Cobras early, when Martinicchio put through the first major of the game, and Sandown was soon out to a 13-point lead. The Pumas showed discipline for the rest of the term and fell only one goal further behind, despite facing the strong wind.

Lyndale used the wind well in the second term, but struggled to capitalise in the swirly conditions, kicking 4 goals 6 behinds. The Cobras performed well against the breeze, and were two points up at half time.

The Pumas’ third term dominance resulted from a spirited team-effort. Not long after Martinicchio’s goal for the Cobras, he again took possession, but was brought down by a huge tackle. A minute later, the Pumas goaled.

Overcoming a 15-point deficit going into the last quarter seemed too difficult against the wind, but the Cobras ran hard early and a goal to Matt Davis had them within 9 points. The Pumas responded quickly and the floodgates opened.

With a six-goal lead in the dying moments of the game, the Pumas still chased.

Trevor Kumetaitis booted three goals for them, and Taylor Irish was their best player.


Under 19's - Qualifying and Elimination Finals WRAP-UP

With Josh Schonafinger

Qualifying Final – Dingley v Clayton;
Dingley put in one of their best performances of the season to overrun Clayton by nine points in extra time. The Clays led at the first three breaks thanks to dominate displays in front of the goals from Joel Rigoni, Mason Lambert and Kemueli Valentini. Despite trailing for the majority of the game, the Dingoes never gave up and when the final siren sounded they had worked their way back to level pegging and the game was set for extra time. Vincent Arena stepped up for the Dingoes when needed, kicking two late goals in extra time to seal victory and book a date with Bentleigh in Semi Final 2.

Elimination Final – Skye v St Pauls;
St Pauls pulled off a memorable elimination final victory against Skye, despite losing to them in their most recent home and away fixture. The Doggies came out with serious intent and led by 29 points at half time. The Bombers however, largely through Brandon Black, fought back to within 11 points at three quarter time. From there, it was St Pauls who once again took control and created numerous chances, with Zachary Spencer the beneficiary, finishing with three goals. Connor Wilson helped his Doggies maintain momentum in the last to win by 46 points and set up a match against Clayton.


Thirds - Qualifying and Elimination Finals WRAP-UP

With Josh Schonafinger

Qualifying Final – Mount Waverley v Skye:
Skye booked a playoff with Dingley by overcoming Mount Waverley by 13 points. The Mountain Lions burst out of the blocks with three of the first four goals to lead at quarter time, but from there the Bombers slowly wrestled back the advantage, leading at every other change. Although the margin was just 13, the Bombers’ had 24 scoring shots to Mount Waverley’s 16, showing they were creating the more chances. Christopher Deluca was Skye’s star with five goals.

Elimination Final – Cerberus v Endeavour Hills;
The normally high-scoring Cerberus are finished for the season, with Endeavour Hills proving too good, winning by 13 points. Incredibly, at quarter time the Falcons led by nine points, then at half time Cerberus led by nine, then at three quarter time the Falcons lead again by nine. The topsy-turvy contest came to thrilling conclusion when Cedric LeGrand (three goals) and Jake Van Hoesel inspired their Falcons in the last to hold onto their lead. Ethan Barclay was excellent for Cerberus but couldn't do much more to get his side over the line.

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