Finals week 2 - review

The second week of finals in the SS&A OMFNL has been played and won with Yarrawonga progressing to the grand final in football and giant killer’s Lavington in netball. 

The teams eliminated were Wodonga in a rugged first semi-final in football and Wangaratta went out in straight sets in the netball. 

The stage is now set for preliminary final action at Birallee Park in Wodonga this Sunday with magnificent spring weather forecast at around 25 deg. 

In a dour second semi-final at Wodonga, it was the Pigeons who controlled larger parts of the game to beat Albury by 17 points with both sides inaccurate at the goal face. 

A total of just eleven goals were kicked for the game with seven in the first half and just four in the second half – the eleven goals came from a game total of forty scoring shots 11-29. 

Dylan Conway (Yarrawonga) and Jacob Conlan (Albury) both kicked five behinds as Yarrawonga led from start to finish to secure another shot at premiership glory. 

Brayden Coburn was the surprise packet for Yarrawonga booting three goals, while for Albury Riley Bice kicked half of their game total of four goals. 

Pigeons star full forward Leigh Williams was kept goalless by Tigers Lucas Conlan. Once again Bice, Jake Gaynor, Rhys King and Max Byrne were good for Albury.  

George Horlin-Smith and Michael Duncan were late withdrawals from the Tigers team, replaced by rising stars Connor O’Sullivan and Phoenix Gothard. 

The Pigeons were best served by defenders Ned Pendergast, captain Leigh Masters, onballer Michael Gibbons, Coburn and ruckman Lachie Howe. 

Wangaratta kept its premiership hopes alive with a hard-fought 18-point win over a very committed Wodonga in an entertaining first semi at Bunton Park, Wodonga. 

The star performer for Wangaratta was defender come-forward Matt Grossman who started on the wing and then booted four big goals when shifted forward. 

Wodonga will rue its inability to convert its early first-quarter dominance kicking 2-5 to trail the Magpies at the first break who kicked 3-1 with two late goals. 

An early goal to Noah Spiteri put Wodonga in front in the second term, before two goals each to Grossman and Fraser Holland-Dean gave Wangaratta a 21-point lead at the long break. 

Two Matt Wilson goals for Wodonga in the first five minutes got the margin back to six points before Wangaratta finished with the last three to take a 25-point lead at the last change. 

The Dogs goaled early but Wangaratta showed its experience to keep the Dogs at bay with Grossman, Daniel Sharrock, Murray Waite, and Liam McVeigh outstanding. 

For Wodonga Wilson was magnificent, Charlie Morrison kept Cal Moore to just two goals and young ruckman Zac Harding a late call up did well against Chris Knowles. 

The Magpies lost Michael Newton pre-game with hamstring soreness, his replacement Waitai Tua along with Brayden Marjanovic were other good players. 

Lavington continued its giant-killing run by toppling defending premiers Yarrawonga 45-43 to qualify for the grand final on September 24.

Yarrawonga ace, Sarah Moore, was an early casuality in the game. At just the 5 minute mark of the first quarter, she limped off with a what appeareed to be a calf complaint and didn’t return for the raminder of the game. 

The replacement for Moore, Kaleisha Pell, was excellent for Yarrawonga with 24 goals under great pressure from Lavington defenders Taylor Furborough and Kate Mastronardi. 

The Panthers made it ten wins in a row with Lavington’s Christine Oguche posting 39 goals in a titanic battle with Pigeons star Hannah Symes. 

The league’s fairy tale story continued when Wodonga Raiders upset last year’s runner up Wangaratta 37-33 in a gripping contest at North Albury. 

Playing in their first finals series since 2004 the young Raiders played the ultimate team game to turn around two home and away losses during the season against the Magpies.

Raiders defenders Zoe Prentice and Molly Goldsworthy were held down the attack of Wangaratta, restiricting the access to the shooting circle. 

At Half-time, the Raiders subbed in young gun, Mia Lavis, who nailed 10 goals in the final quarter to seal the win.