DIVISION 1 – Semi Final 2 & 1 WRAP-UP
With Good Will Hunter
East Brighton is the first team through to the Division One Grand Final after giving minor premiers Dingley a touch up in their Semi Final clash on Saturday.
The Vampires had the Dingoes rattled with their relentless attack on the footy, and they didn’t let up as they marched to a memorable 21-point win.
The opening term went as expected as both sides traded goals in a terrific exhibition of finals footy. Just four behinds separated them at the first change, with the Vampires keeping their noses in front.
But East Brighton found another gear in the second term and killed the Dingoes out of the middle, largely due to Hamish Dahl’s dominance in the ruck. They banged home the first three goals of the quarter to race to a 22-point lead. Although Dingley pegged a couple back late in the quarter, a goal after the half time siren to Vampires spearhead Damien Lynch really deflated them.
An arm-wrestle resumed in the third term as the Dingoes fought to bridge the deficit. Unfortunately East Brighton had all the answers, but when Tom Paterson dobbed the opening goal of the final term, it brought the margin back to 15 points and Dingley had a sniff.
The Dingoes attacked relentlessly for the next eight minutes; however it proved fruitless as several golden opportunities went begging. For the first time all year Dingley looked impotent going forward, with prolific goal kicker Dean Francis absolutely blanketed by star Vampire Liam Bowman.
In the shadows of time on, Sam Dillon banged home the sealer for East Brighton, sending his side into their fourth consecutive premiership decider and the Vampires fans into delirium.
Although their defence (rightly) took a lot of the credit for the win, Toby Mahoney and Dean Williamson were industrious up the other end for East Brighton.
Luke Walmsley and Travis La Rocca were the standouts through the middle for the Dingoes.
On Sunday St Pauls edged out Chelsea Heights in their cut-throat Semi Final.
The young Heighters certainly gave them an almighty scare, but the Dogs were too good when it mattered, getting home by 10 points in a sensational contest.
Chelsea Heights picked up where they’d left off the previous week, slotting the opening goal of the game through James Jagintavicius. But five goals in eight minutes gave the Dogs a handy buffer and you got the feeling this would get ugly for the Heighters.
But just as they did against Cheltenham, the Heighters worked their way back into the match with Jordan Peryman again in the thick of the action. Erish Uthemaykumar dazzled with three majors in the third term and when Matt Terech jagged a late one Chelsea Heights took an unlikely two-point lead into the final stanza.
Their lead was short-lived however, as a Jarryd Allan goal two minutes into the last quarter got the Dogs back in front. The two sides were then locked in a tense dogfight for 18 goalless minutes before, as if on cue, Luke James bobbed up with the match-winner to break the hearts of Chelsea Heights.
Both Michael Johnstone and Adam McIntyre found plenty of the Sherrin and were instrumental in the Dogs’ win, while Travis Ridgeway was a livewire up forward.
But as usual it was the Luke James show with the superstar bagging five goals in a scintillating best-afield performance.
DIVISION 2 – Semi Final 2 & 1 WRAP-UP
With Jason Barbin
After an exciting first week of finals, 5 teams became 4 as the finals race began to heat up.
After a much needed week off, Mordialloc took on Skye in Semi Final 2 at Jack Barker Oval. Skye had a comfortable win over Caulfield in the Qualifying final and were full of confidence heading into the match. But that confidence was quickly dashed as Mordialloc, who have only lost 1 game for the season, quickly jumped to a 12 point lead. Inaccurate kicking cost the Bombers in the first quarter with several opportunities missed that could have seen them with a quarter time lead. The second quarter was a different story as Mordialloc piled on the pressure and while the Bombers were finally able to get a goal on the board, Mordialloc were able to bang on 4 goals of their own to blow the lead out to 22 points at half time.
After receiving a rev up at halftime, Skye came out firing in the second half and looked to gain some control over the match. The Bombers were able to gain some ascendency through the midfield with the likes of Jim Martinson and Marc Fredderson winning plenty of the footy but Mordialloc were able to match them with Nick Corda stepping up his intensity in the third quarter. After extending the lead to 28 points heading into the final term, the pressure really heated up as both teams weren’t able to hit the scoreboard as frequently and in the end, Mordialloc were able to grind out a 34 point win. Michael Barnhoorn was among the best with 2 goals.
In Semi Final 1, Caulfield took on Hampton in what was expected to be an exciting contest, having won their previous two encounters, the Bears were the favourites heading into the game despite having lost their previous match against Skye. The Hammers were full of confidence after their win against Highett and looked ready to go right from the opening bounce. Both teams fought hard in the opening term, taking advantage of the conditions to hit the scoreboard early and often. After taking a 7 point lead into quarter time, Hampton emerged in the second quarter and started to dominate in the centre. Taking advantage of a slow to react Caulfield side, the Hammers dominated the clearances and moved the ball quickly through the middle as the likes of Justin Issac and Todd Crane showed just how dangerous they can be with their disposal to help set up a 4 goal quarter and extend the lead to 21 points at half time.
The second half began in much the same way as Hampton continued to dominate through the middle of the ground, continuously creating opportunities in their forward half. Joel Hanlon relished his role as a spot up forward booting 6 goals for the day while key forward Chris Worner chimed in with 3 as the Hammers increased their lead to 31 points heading into the final break. The Bears began to fight back in the final term with Chris Lacey providing a solid target up forward but the pressure being applied by Hampton was too much in the end as they ran out 49 point winners, eliminating Caulfield from finals contention.
DIVISION 3 – Preliminary Final WRAP UP
With Andrew Paloczi
Lyndale took it up to Mount Waverley early and had the first three scores on the board, but it was the Mountain Lions’ spearhead James Gough who booted the first goal of the day. The Pumas responded quickly, and scores were close throughout the quarter. It was great finals footy with strong tackling from both sides. A major from a set shot after the siren put the Pumas ahead by a point at quarter time.
Lyndale kept up its spirited effort in the second term, and Steve Harrison provided some spark with a couple of strong marks in the early minutes, but once again the Mountain Lions were first to goal. Although they only added one more major for the term, courtesy of a snap from Gough, they held the Pumas to just two behinds. Mount Waverley led by 11 points at the conclusion of the first half.
Despite a Mountain Lions’ goal in the opening minute of the third quarter, the Pumas kept finding answers and pulled the margin back to only four points at the 10-minute mark. But Mount Waverley started to get on top and drove the ball forward persistently. The Mountain Lions’ finishing was impressive, and they booted four goals to none for the rest of the term, the last from Joseph Rickard threatening to put the game out of the Puma’s reach.
Mount Waverley’s players went to the huddle with great confidence and were urged to “seek out contact” in the last term and to maintain pressure on the Pumas.
When the Mountain Lions booted the first major of the final stanza it looked as though they were marching into the grand final, with a 34-point lead, and marking and passing with conviction. But the Pumas refused to hang their heads. Tommy Clappers continued to run hard and willed himself to win the ball and drive his team forward. Damien Wilsnach also offered drive from defence for the Pumas.
Getting back within 15 points, Lyndale continued to apply enormous pressure and its backmen held firm, but a classy goal on the run from Christopher Jeffries looked to have sealed the win for the Mountain Lions. Within a minute, Brad Carroll answered for the Pumas and the dream was still alive 19 minutes in.
When midfielder Michael Dennis ran forward and passed skilfully to Garrett Kinchington, Mount Waverley had control of its destiny. Kinchington punched the air as his shot sailed over the goal umpire’s head. With Christopher Jeffries adding another goal, the final margin drifted out to 28 points, not reflecting the great effort by the Pumas.
For the winners, James Gough finished with four goals and Taryn Dawson was named the best player.
It was a highly deserved win for the Mountain Lions, and ensures the grand final will feature this season’s powerhouse teams. Another exhilarating clash awaits to determine whether Mt Waverley or CPL holds the silverware aloft. Bring on the big one.
Under 19′s – Semi Final 2&1 WRAP-UP
With Josh Schonafinger
Semi Final 2 - Bentleigh v Dingley
It won’t surprise followers of the SFL under 19s to learn that Bentleigh are through to the grand final, but they had to deal with a serious challenge from Dingley last weekend. The first half was as closely fought and as intense as finals come, neither side giving anything away to the point only three goals were kicked in the whole first half of footy. The floodgates opened after the major break, Vincent Arena again getting on the board for the Dingoes with three goals. The Dees had a much better spread of goal kickers though, nine in total, and another cracking performance from Kade Heaphy-Wemyss was enough to see the minor premiers get over the line by 13 points and book their place in the season decider.
Semi Final 1 - Clayton v St Pauls
Clayton were keen to make amends after last week’s close loss and got it, in a shootout against St Pauls. The Doggies gave the Clays a five goal head start early, and could never make it up. Although Matt Brown kicked four goals for St Pauls, Kevin Harris, Mason Lambert and Joel Rigoni combined for 11 goals for Clayton. The Clays finished with 19 goals for the match, with the final margin sitting at 39 points. Kemueli Valentini continues his fantastic late season form and will be a vital player again if they Clays are to make the season decider.
Thirds– Semi Final 2&1 WRAP-UP
With Josh Schonafinger
Semi Final 2 - Dingley v Skye
Skye stunned Dingley and the rest of the competition by comfortably knocking aside the minor premiers in their semi-final last Saturday. The margin was just one goal in favour of the Bombers at half time as both sides proved inaccurate. However, the second half was a completely different story, as the Bombers’ midfield was inspired by Jeremy Gleeson. They totally outplayed the Dingoes from there, kicking nine goals to two after the major break; Domenic Spinucci snagged four while Bradley Dyer chimed in as usual, with three goals. 52 points the final difference and a ticket straight to the grand final for the Bombers.
Semi Final 1 - Mount Waverley v Endeavour Hills
Game. Set. Match. Mount Waverley will be kicking themselves as they were booted out of the 2014 finals in straight sets against a determined Endeavour Hills. The Falcons shot out of the blocks with four goals to none in the opening term, and there was no going back for the Mountain Lions. Although Randolph Newman put in a valiant effort for Mount Waverley, it was a five goal haul to the victors’ Nathan Proctor that proved the difference, with 29 points separating the two at the final siren.