MATCH REVIEW: Platinum Division Grand Final
Written by Michael Shillito
Macquarie University Warriors vs. Southern Power – Blacktown ISP on Sunday 8th September
The showpiece event for the Platinum Division clubs saw Macquarie Uni Warriors taking on Southern Power at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday afternoon.
The Warriors were first to qualify for the Grand Final, after defeating minor premiers Penrith in the Major Semi-Final. It was a tougher road to the finals for the Power, who had to win sudden death encounters against Western Magic in the Minor Semi-Final and Penrith in the Preliminary Final to make it through to the big match.
Blacktown was bathed in sunshine, the wild winds of the past day having eased. Conditions were good for a keenly-anticipated struggle between two teams that had looked evenly matched for most of the year.
There’s always a sense of nervous anticipation when a Grand Final comes around. A good start is important when a flag is on the line. Making the early front-running can see the opposition put under pressure. And when the game got under way, it was Southern Power who wasted little time in assuming the leadership position.
Taking the lion’s share of possession, a lopsided count of inside 50s, it was all Southern Power in the early exchanges as they set themselves up to take the lead and force the Warriors into playing catch-up footy. The Power were first into every contest, winning the disputed possessions and driving the ball into their forward line with regularity. Four unanswered goals told the story, as the Power raced to a convincing 23-point lead and already the Warriors were under pressure.
It would be a hard road back for the Warriors, shell shocked after the dynamic Power opening. But in the second term, the Warriors applied themselves well to the task at hand and refused to let the margin blow out further. The Power now found themselves having to defend, but were equal to the task and the Warriors were unable to make any significant dent in the deficit. The Warriors did win the quarter, by two goals to one but the Power were still well placed with a 17-point lead at the long break.
The Warriors couldn’t let the game drift. They had to throw caution to the wind, go all out on the attack, and hope to build their way back into the contest by creating scoring opportunities. They had to back themselves and take risks; but the risks didn’t always come off. It was a much higher scoring quarter of footy, with each side kicking three goals; as the Warriors attacked gamely but left themselves opposed to counter moves by the Power. In the end, the Power had the answers to any question the Warriors would ask; and for all the Warriors’ efforts the three goal margin would remain intact.
The margin was 18 points at the last change. Not impossible for the Warriors to come back and snatch the game, and as they went into their huddle at three quarter time the message was loud and clear that this game was there to be won if they were good enough. But the Power had other ideas, and they would defend resolutely in the final term. The Warriors needed three goals more than the Power, but were unable to manage a goal in the last quarter. Time was ticking down, and the Power were counting down to the premiership celebrations. Two more goals in the last quarter were the icing on the cake.
The final siren sounded, and the Power’s win was confirmed. Within a few seconds a massive group of Power people were together, cheering and celebrating. Nearby, Warriors players slumped to the ground, feeling the empty desolation of defeat. Just metres apart physically, but a galaxy apart emotionally.
As they had all season, the Warriors had fought gamely. Geoff Smith, Luke Shipway and Jeremy Eddy had been the standout contributors in this match. But in the end, the Warriors would have to content themselves with second place; and hope to go one spot better next season.
This was the Power’s day. Coming from sudden death, they hit their best form at the right time of year and getting off to a flying start would prove the difference this time. Nick Salter landed four goals for the Power and along with Brandon Norton and Trent Lenehan was among their best. When the match was there to be won, the Power got it done.
Southern Power – 4.1 | 5.5 | 8.7 | 10.10 (70)
Macquarie University – 0.2 | 2.6 | 5.7 | 5.8 (38)
Southern Power Goals – N Salter 4, H Wallis 3, B McLean, M Douglas, M Cairnduff
Macquarie Uni Goals – L Shipway 3, M Williams 2
Southern Power Best – B Norton, T Lenehan, N Salter, H McLean, T Van Greunsven, H Wallis
Macquarie Uni Best – G Smith, L Shipway, J Eddy, I brackin,J Stephens, D Brogan