THE Gippsland Bulls faced off against two of its former brethren in its second semi-final clash with Frankston at the weekend for a place in the Vic League 2 grand final.
Coach and 2012 most valuable player Steve Pearse was carrying a serious quadricep injury, and Matt Goetz was struggling for form, leaving the Bulls a monumental task to overcome flying Frankston.
Gippsland started well, using its pace to trouble the Frankston midfield allowing several forward thrusts.
Desperate defence denied the Bulls and the Frankston keeper showed class in repelling repeated attacks as Gippsland struggled to turn its dominance into goals.
Dutch recruit Thomas Brouwer changed the course of the match.
The star signing flew down the right flank to receive a cross pass at the top of the circle, evaded a defender, went on to his reverse and slammed a tommahawk through the Frankston fortress to gain the lead.
Gippsland continued to control the half but was unable to add to its advantage.
With less than two minutes in the half, Frankston took the ball the length of the field and had a golden opportunity to level scores.
Andrew Glazzard was there to save the day and ensure the Bulls went to half-time ahead.
The second half started as an even affair with the ball bouncing between defences.
Jonno Anderson and Matt Zurrer were busy and kept the Frankston backline frantic.
Their pressure resulted in a couple of penalty corners, from which a goal mouth scramble saw Gippsland put in a second goal.
With 12 minutes to go Frankston began to find space up forward.
A final fling saw Frankston disallowed a goal from a penalty corner and the Bulls emerged 2-0 winners.
Gippsland now faces Geelong in the grand final at the State Hockey Centre.
A win would see the side promoted to Vic League 1.