MATCH REVIEW: Under 19s Division Two Grand Final
Written by Michael Shillito
West Goannas vs. North Shore Bombers – Blacktown ISP on Sunday 8th September
A big Grand Final day was arranged for Sunday, with four premierships up for grabs. Up first was the Under 19s Division Two, with West Goannas taking on North Shore.
West Goannas, a joint venture between Inner West Magpies and Holroyd-Parramatta, had enjoyed a successful season. Making it through the regular season undefeated with a percentage of nearly 500, following it up with a big win over Sydney Uni in the Major Semi-Final. The Goannas were the hottest of favourites, but they still had one more mountain to climb.
Their opponents for the big clash were North Shore. The Bombers finished third after the regular season, and had to get through an extra time thriller against Southern Power in the Minor Semi-Final before running over Sydney Uni in the Preliminary Final to make it through to the big game.
Sunday was fine and sunny, but a strong southerly was blowing. The Bombers were kicking with it in the first term, but they were unable to make anything of the favourable conditions. A fiery opening term, with plenty of niggle and some ferocious tackles set the tone for the day and a physical clash was in store. Neither side could manage a goal in the first term, with the Goannas feeling pleased with their defensive efforts as they led by two points at the first change.
The Goannas got a goal on the board in the opening minute of the second term, and the momentum was running their way. But the Bombers dug deep in defence during the second term, moving numbers back and clearing the ball out of the danger zone time and again. That opening minute goal was to be the only major score for the quarter, as the Goannas kept creating chances only to be repelled time and again by the grim defence of the Bombers. The Goannas were 11 points to the good at the long break.
But when the Bombers got a goal on the board just two minutes into the third term, suddenly the undefeated competition favourites had a fight on their hands. The Bombers had the wind, and now they had their tails up and were pressing hard. This was not going to be an easy win for the Goannas, and they would have to put their bodies on the line. The Goannas were able to add to their lead, but this was a tough and sometimes spiteful contest; and tempers flared as the three quarter time siren brought the teams together. From the ensuing brouhaha, a 50 metre penalty extended the Goannas’ lead to 20 points at three quarter time.
That goal took the wind out of North Shore’s sails, and their resistance broke in the final term. After what had been a tight and tough contest for three quarters, the Goannas took control of proceedings in the final quarter with three unanswered goals. In the end, they were able to take out the premiership by 38 points after a clash that for most of the day looked destined to be much closer.
The Bombers were disappointed to only have one goal to show for their efforts on the day. Frane Babic, James Gibson and Charlie Lovegrove had taken up the fight all day; and the Bombers had caused plenty of anxious moments for the Goannas for three quarters. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to take out premiership glory.
This was the Goannas’ day, capping off the flawless season. Jonathan Neiser, Aydin Bremner and Jacob Bauer had led the way; but as was the case for much of the year, it was a solid team effort that got the job done on the day. Being a joint venture side, and not always training together, has its challenges. But as they had done all season, West Goannas took on the challenges and won through.
West Goannas – 0.3 | 1.7 | 3.10 | 6.12 (48)
North Shore – 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.2 | 1.4 (10)
West Goannas Goals – J Bauer 3, C Newton 2, M Tanuku
North Shore Goals – B Greaves
West Goannas Best – J Nieser, A Bremner, J Bauer, C Newton, K Watts, M Tanuku
North Shore Best – F Babic, J Gibson, C Lovegrove, S Milligan, R Worner, R Sanders