In a preliminary final that delivered even more excitement and entertainment than we expected, the Cranbourne Eagles booked their spot in this year's big dance after defeating St Kilda City by 12 points in an intriguing game of football.
The Saints who came into this clash in white hot form would have fancied themselves to cause yet another upset on their way to a potential grand final berth, but they knew they were coming up against a quality opponent in Cranbourne, whose class shone through on the day.
The Cranbourne Eagles took an early lead in what was an opening term that was actually dominated by St Kilda City. The Eagles made the most of their chances and were accurate inside 50 booting 4.1 whilst the Saints endured a wayward term in front of goals kicking a poor 0.7 in a term that should have seen them gain a lead in the game.
The second term brought about a similar term of footy with the Saints controlling majority of play but once again not being able to convert on the scoreboard kicking 2.5 whilst the Eagles managed 2.1. The third term then produced a brilliant quarter of footy with 7 goals kicked between the two sides in a free flowing term with 4 of those goals going the way of the Eagles to increase their margin out to 19 points at the final break.
In the final term, it always loomed as a quarter were the Saints were going to push hard and throw everything at it to come from behind and win and they certainly gave it a real crack in the last term as they responded strongly with 3 goals but the Eagles managed 2 of their own to hold onto their lead and come away with a fine win.
For the Eagles, Tyson Barry and Marc Holt led the way up forward booting 2 goals each whilst they also had a further 8 different goal kickers on the day. Brandon Osborne and Kirk Dickson were right up there in the best on ground conversation after the pair produced standout performances. For the Saints, Aaron Edwards shone in defeat booting 3 majors to cap off a remarkable season from the Saints Forward.
Ultimately, for the Saints it was their poor accuracy in front of goals which cost them the game and they will rue their missed opportunities in front of goals for the days and weeks to come. The Eagles will now face off against Cheltenham in this week’s Grand Final for a shot at the silverware in season 2022.
In a thrilling Grand Final to end the season, Chelsea Heights pipped the Doveton Doves right at the post coming away with a 2 point victory in an instant classic.
Chelsea Heights emphatically turned the tables on the Doves after just two weeks prior to the Grand Final going down by close to 100 points, due to this thrashing only weeks ago the Doves came into the contest as red hot favourites but Chelsea Heights were able to pull off a stunning turnaround.
The game got off to a real tight start with both sides bringing the heat and intensity required in a Grand Final which led to a highly contested low scoring half of footy with both sides kicking the 4 goals each in the first half.
Then in the third term the Doves gained control and started to get on top all over the ground and they kicked 3 goals to 1 in the third term to hand them a 13 point lead at the final break, however they weren't able to fully capitalize on their third term dominance with a few goals being left out on the ground.
Chelsea Heights needed to produce a special last quarter to give them a chance at victory and that is exactly what they delivered in the final term. They were able to flip the script in the final quarter kicking 3 goals whilst holding the Doves to a goalless term to hand them a remarkable win and claim the premiership. The last 10 minutes were epic, both teams having chances to win the game, end to end football with heroics all over the park
Chelsea Heights did not win the Grand Final because of one or two players, it was a whole team effort which saw them get over the line with there being 8 different individual goal kickers on the day for the reflecting a brilliant team performance.
A special mention must go out to Doveton after falling at the last hurdle after a brilliant season and should be applauded for their outstanding year. Lastly, congratulations to Chelsea Heights after clinching this year's premiership to cap off a brilliant year, congratulations to all involved.