Tame Cougars fail to overcome Kangaroos

Heyfield v Churchill – second semi-final

CHURCHILL will meet Sale City in the preliminary final after falling short by seven goals against minor premiers Heyfield in their second semi-final clash at Stephensons Park, Sale on Saturday.

The Cougars were no match for the Kangaroos, who secured a grand final berth for the third consecutive season.

Heyfield exploded out of the blocks with six goals to one in the opening quarter to establish an unassailable match-winning lead.

The Kangaroos scored the first two majors of the match, the second courtesy of some Daniel Stubbe magic.

Churchill settled after 10 minutes to open its scoring account, and while the Cougars at times got plenty of the ball, it failed to make good use of it.

As soon as the Cougars would score Heyfield would respond.

Joel Dinsdale and Jesse Bedggood led the foot race into the forward line, with Dinsdale shaking the close watch of Billy Wight to run into goal from 15 metres out to add the Kangaroos’ tally.

This was followed by one of Bedggood’s six goals for the afternoon.

The Roos led by 31 points at the first change, but Churchill’s Nick Campbell reeled one back.

However, this was followed by three straight goals for Heyfield.

Luke Pratt and Daniel Stevens swooped on the loose ball in the Kangaroos’ forward 50 to again put the Cougars back six, lead by coach Allan Chandler, under extreme pressure.

Running off half-back Churchill’s Travis Brighton and best on ground Chris Williams combined in the middle to set up Hamish Towns in front of goal.

Churchill’s third major helped halt the Kangaroos’ momentum.

Digging deep the Cougars added another to match the Kangaroos on the scoreboard in the second term.

Churchill hit the ground running at the start of the premiership term with what would be their first of four for the quarter.

Two consecutive 50 metre penalties paid against Darby gifted Bedggood with Heyfield’s first for the term, before Saunders added another.

The scoring dried up as neither side could break through across their respective half-back lines,

Bedggood continued on from where he left off in the third registering the first of the final term.

Darby responded with his sole major for the afternoon.

The full-forward was kept in check by Scott Anderson.

A 50 metre penalty awarded Brighton his second, but it was the Kangaroos blistering opening term that killed the contest.

The final term was a formality as the Kangaroos peppered away at the goals.

Churchill registered late goals but were left rueing numerous missed opportunities and poor choices over the course of the afternoon.

Heyfield’s Daniel Saunders left nothing in the locker room, Bedggood finished with a bag of six, Jack Woodland came in and out of the game taking on various roles in a dominating performance and Stubbe was busy, with Dave Kelly providing direction in a rotating midfield role. Sean Humphreys was instrumental in a dominating performance against the Cougars rotating ruck combination.

Williams found plenty of the ball in the midfield, with his accelerating pace at times putting his direct opponent under pressure.

Chris Weller and Brandon Mahoney were solid performers throughout the contest and never gave up, while Dean DeGroot had an unenviable job down back in restricting the Kangaroos’ forward entries.

Rosedale v Sale City – first semi-final

The knock-out semi-final provided spectators with plenty as Sale City kept its premiership dreams alive with a sharp seven-goal victory against Rosedale.

Looking sharp from the on-set, City came to play in Sunday’s do-or-die final and was quick to place the Blues on the back foot.

Sale City held Rosedale to three goals in the opening half to take a nine-goal lead into the long change, however was suitably matched in the second half.

The Dogs’ seven-goal-to-one second term, led by forward Jake Schuback and coach Hayden Burgiel, saw the fourth-placed finishers predictably in charge from the outset and always had the Blues measure, winning 17.10 (112) to 9.15 (69).

Schuback added to last week’s match total of eight with another seven, Burgiel booted six with Mitch Bennett chipping in with two as City advanced to a preliminary final showdown against Churchill.

Midfielder Byron Shingles was instrumental in and around the contest, Beau Bennett and Jake Evans ran rings around the opposition midfield, and Matt Lutze was a key figure in the ruck contests or setting up play in the forward line.

Best on ground Burgiel was outstanding and generated a contest and deflected the attention from Schuback in front of goal, who found himself tagged by up to four opponents.

Jake Milham set up run-off half-back as he shut down his various opponents, and worked hard with defenders Shay Ferguson and Ben Chivers, the duo part of an impenetrable backline which held the Blues danger forwards including Jeremy Reid and Brad Scott to a mere four majors between the pair.

The Blues’ back six worked hard to contain the onslaught, which saw the Dogs capitalise on Rosedale’s somewhat inability to cope with the pressure.

Down by nine goals at half-time, the Blues needed to dig deep and start the third term on the front foot.

But it was the Dogs that did just that, carrying on from where they left off in the opening half.

While the second half was more even on the scoreboard it was the Blues’ inability to run with their opponent in a whitewash second term which cost them their chances of advancing to a second straight preliminary final.

Rosedale was well served by Luke Stuckey who worked hard to create something often out of nothing, brothers Rowan and Adam Diamond were tireless contributors, defender Johnstone never dropped his head and Dale Fleming worked hard to claim bragging rights against his various opponents.