PReliminary finals - review
The grand final combatants have been decided across the three grades of football and five grades of netball for the 2023 grand finals at Lavington this Sunday.
The A grade netball preliminary final was an epic encounter with Wodonga Raiders defeating minor premiers Yarrawonga in a thrilling extra time stoush that had the captivated crowd spellbound.
The Raiders stunning victory 55-53 was forced into extra time after both teams were locked together 45-45 at full-time in one of the all-time great finals.
The win means Wodonga Raiders will play in its first-ever grand final since netball commenced in the 1993 season.
They have come from the elimination final winning sudden-death matches along the way and will now take on Lavington this Sunday.
At one stage in the third quarter, Yarrawonga led by seven goals before the stunning comeback urged on by a huge band of boisterous supporters changed the fortunes of the game.
Under-17s players Mia Lavis and Eliza Mooney both impacted the game at either end of the court when they were called into action in the second half.
Mackensey House and Maggie St John lifted the Raiders when behind in the third quarter, while Emily Stewart was again superb finishing with 16 goals.
Laura Irvine and Laura Davis were both strong in the centre throughout the match in warm conditions, while Tilly Kennedy was among the best.
To cap off a great day for Raiders their 15 & Under, 17 &Under and B-grade sides also advanced to the grand final day following victories, with the 15 & Under and B-grade games also going into overtime.
While on the football field, it was Albury running home the stronger to beat Wangaratta and qualify for its first grand final since the 2018 win over the Magpies.
The Magpies threw everything at Albury and were still in the game trailing by just eight points at three-quarter time after having led by eight midway through the term.
Albury had kicked the last three goals of the third term and the signs of a strong finish were laid in the final ten minutes of the quarter.
The hard-running Tigers took right over in the last quarter to run out 41 point winner kicking six goals to one to lock away another shot at Yarrawonga in the grand final.
The Magpies simply ran out of midfield leg speed with Riley Bice, Jake Gaynor, Elliot Powell, and Brayden O’Hara starring as Jake Page keeping Dan Sharrock quiet in a superb tagging role.
Isaac Muller dominated the ruck contest, while downback Jessie Wilson, Lucas Conlan and Jay Hillary did not allow one Magpie forward to kick multiple goals.
Albury supporter’s hearts sank when coach Anthony Miles fell awkwardly in the third term, but after a short spell finished the game strongly.
Bice and Jacob Conlan both booted three goals for the Tigers who found their kicking boots after an errant first half in front of the big sticks when they kicked 4-9.
Luke Saunders, Tyler Norton, and Cameron Barrett were superb in defence for Wangaratta, while the four-goal hero from the previous week Matt Grossman stayed in defence all game.
Cal Moore had another quiet day up forward kicking one goal from six shots, he did have an impact when thrown into the ruck periodically.
Lavington led by Lachie Gaffney and Hunter Galvin defeated Yarrawonga by 12 points in an entertaining seconds match to get another crack at Albury.
The Pigeons kicked the first three goals but found the speed and youth of the Panthers to much in a tight finish.
A stunning eight-goal opening term by Wangaratta Rovers blew old rivals Wangaratta away in the thirds game. The Rovers cruised home to a 54-point win.