Morwell is one win away from a grand final berth after knocking Wonthaggi out of contention in the Gippsland League’s first semi-final yesterday at Traralgon.
It was a close contest early; the Tigers led by just five points at quarter-time and half-time after a tightly contested second term.
“It was really tight. I think both sides had a crack early,” Morwell coach Harmit Singh said.
The Tigers broke the shackles in a match-winning third quarter performance that, in the end, proved the difference.
Morwell booted four goals to Wonthaggi’s two in the third to lead by 22-points at the last change.
“We got a couple of goals in quick succession and some repeat entries… we sort of looked a little bit better after that,” Singh said.
Despite the handy lead, Singh was wary of the Power’s ability to finish strongly.
“They are a really fit and strong finishing side. We just didn’t want to let up. We wanted to play out the minutes and maintain that effort,” Singh said.
The Tigers went without a major in the last term but Wonthaggi could not capitalise and managed a single goal of its own.
“The boys are sore but it was fantastic to play out the game. We had some chances but just didn’t convert… I’m really proud of them today,” Singh said.
The Tigers kicked eight goals and 17 behinds, however the coach said he was not too worried about his side’s inaccuracy.
“It was great to have so many scoring opportunities. It (inaccuracy) is not really a trend for us, something we do regularly. It was just one of those days. We will get out on the track and practice and hopefully it won’t happen again,” Singh said.
After consecutive losses to Sale and Maffra the win was sorely needed for the Tigers.
“Obviously it is nicer to win. I think we were really nervous today. I guess we were just a bit up tight and finally in the second quarter we started getting it going a little bit,” Singh said.
“They are a very good team, Rob Railton is such a great coach… (so it’s) really great to get the win,” said Singh.
Morwell’s number one ruckman Tom Crosby was named as the Tigers’ best in another outstanding performance.
“He was unbelievable .. I could not speak any higher of that guy. He works so hard for our football club. I think he’s one of the best ruckmen in the competition and I think most people would agree,” Singh said.
Morwell will face elimination for the second time in a row this week when it takes on Maffra in Sunday’s preliminary final for the chance to meet the reigning premier Sale in the big one on 22 September.
Sale v Maffra
Sale moved a step closer to back-to-back premierships when it won straight through to the Gippsland League grand final with victory over its biggest rival Maffra on Saturday.
The conditions at Moe were a far cry from the sunny skies that greeted Morwell and Wonthaggi at Traralgon yesterday.
Led by a best on ground performance by coach Matt Ferguson, which included four goals, the Magpies cruised to victory in one of the lowest scoring second semi-finals in Gippsland League history.
Wet and slippery conditions played a crucial role, particularly early.
Fresh from a week off the minor premier managed just one goal in the opening term.
Its opponent Maffra was goalless at the first change and trailed by seven points.
The term was the lowest scoring quarter in second semi-final history since 1999 when Wonthaggi and Traralgon managed respective scores of just eight and three points at quarter-time.
It was a similar story in the second.
The flag favourite added just one goal one to Maffra’s one goal two.
Maffra coach Hayden Burgiel was sidelined with injury and the conditions made it difficult for the traditionally fast-scoring Eagles, who were again without a major in the third.
It allowed Sale to edge its way further in front with a three goal term.
The Magpies led by 27 points at three-quarter-time and added another three goals to Maffra’s two in the last to run out a 34 point winner.
Maffra’s total of 3.7 (25) is the fourth lowest in second semi-final history in the Gippsland League.
The Eagles managed just three majors for the day; the usually dominant Darren Sheen and Daniel Bedggood were a lot quieter in the wet, finishing the match with just one apiece.
Following the same path it took last year, Sale will now enjoy another week off ahead of the grand final.