28 Aug FOOTY FINALS – WEEK 1
Reigning premier Bannockburn failed to recover from a slow start in the elimination final and their title defence has ended. The Tigers went into halftime with a four goal deficit, a mixture of some poor kicking for goal and the inability to keep the ball off the East Geelong midfielders. With their season on the line, coach Ron Pilgrim challenged his young team to lift during the break and their response in the third term was dramatic. Their attack on the football was ferocious and every player bought into the change. The exquisite skills of Leigham Elzinga were on full display after a quiet first half and Callum Hetherington was marking everything delivered anywhere near his region. Sadly his return was disappointing, finishing with four goals nine behinds, but he created havoc in a previously stable Eagles defence. The Tigers banged on six third quarter goals and headed into the final term with tails up and a four point lead. Some hard work from East ruckman Tim McLennan and a little magic from midfielder Ryan Lempa allowed their team to settle and some cashed in petrol tickets may have curtailed the Tigers run home. They were gallant in defeat and youngsters James Hose, Josh Kunjka and Tom Bath were superb in the tough finals environment and they have set a strong base for long and distinguished careers.
A solid four quarter effort saw Inverleigh prevail over Bell Post Hill and advance to the second semi final. The Hawks displayed a higher skill level throughout the game and the strong marking of star forwards Dalton Grundell and Adam Donohue created enough goals to win the low scoring contest. Luke Wilson was able to get on top of his opponent Renn Lovitt in the ruck and was very damaging as he provided a link between defence and attack. The Panthers were dogged throughout the day with their inspirational leader Jack Yates constantly attacking the contest and Tyler Skowronski and Josh Andrews could claim personal victories in the tough contest. The defensive efforts of veteran Hawks midfielder Jarrod Young to curtail the brilliant Dylan Witney and full back Mitch Elford in keeping the Panthers Will Ford goalless, also played a huge role in the victory.Despite having to line up in a last chance final against East Geelong next week, the Panthers lost no fans and will be back to the happy hunting ground at St Albans full of confidence.