Wan­der­ers into fi­nal

Great Southern Herald - - SPORT - An­drew Pritchard

Katan­ning Wan­der­ers moved into their first UGSFL grand fi­nal since 2011, with a hard fought 19-point win over Bod­ding­ton, 17.15 to 14.14, at Clay­ton Road Oval, Nar­ro­gin.

This win gives Katan­ning Wan­der­ers their best chance of break­ing their 31-year premier­ship drought.

In a highly en­ter­tain­ing and skil­ful game Wan­der­ers with­stood a de­ter­mined fight­back in the third quar­ter from Bod­ding­ton, in which it re­duced a four-goal, half-time deficit to two points at three-quar­ter time.

In the last quar­ter with the aid of a fresh­en­ing breeze and with Josh Bootsma, who was moved to the for­ward line in the third quar­ter, kick­ing two goals Wan­der­ers stead­ied to win and earn a week’s rest.

Again Tim Fitzger­ald pro­vided a re­li­able av­enue in the for­ward line with five goals, and pacey for­ward Kane Shep­hard kicked four, two of which were out­stand­ing — one an over­head goal square snap and the other a set shot deep in the right for­ward pocket in the sec­ond quar­ter.

In ideal spring-like weather con­di­tions, in front of a big crowd, Bod­ding­ton started strongly and had their first goal on the board within 30 sec­onds af­ter a strong mark from full for­ward Damian Hay­ward.

Wan­der­ers re­sponded with three goals from Fitzger­ald, all from strong marks on the lead.

In a fast-paced start Wan­der­ers led 6.4 to 3.3 at quar­ter­time.

In an even sec­ond quar­ter Wan­der­ers jumped Bod­ding­ton with Shep­hard kick­ing three and Fitzger­ald his fourth, but Bod­ding­ton re­sponded. Her­man Humphries, Hay­ward and Eric Moody com­bined to kick four goals, to keep Bod­ding­ton within strik­ing dis­tance.

The third quar­ter for long pe­ri­ods was con­trolled by Bod­ding­ton and aided by Wan­der­ers’ in­ac­cu­rate kick­ing at goal, with Matt Guimelli and Josh Kelly pro­vid­ing drive out of the mid­dle.

An en­thralling last quar­ter was on the cards.

Wan­der­ers pre­vailed with Bootsma tak­ing telling marks in the for­ward line and Ja­cob Win­tle, Ricky Mar­ris, Dil­lon New­man and Ryan Pon­tillo, ei­ther mark­ing strongly or spoil­ing op­po­si­tion marks.

The win books them a place in the grand fi­nal at home in a fort­night.

For Katan­ning Wan­der­ers James Lau­rino and Tim Ste­wart led the mid­field, Pon­tillo, Win­tle and Mar­ris played strongly in de­fence, while Fitzger­ald, Shep­hard and Bar­den Crosby were lively in at­tack.

For Bod­ding­ton, An­drew Moody and Humphries were busy in the mid­field and in at­tack, Gi­umelli worked tire­lessly around the ground and Mitchell and Jar­rod Salameri were pacey around the ground.

Bod­ding­ton now face Nar­ro­gin, at Kuk­erin for a place in the grand fi­nal against Wan­der­ers.

In the re­serves Wa­gin de­feated Katan­ning Wan­der­ers by 23 points 8.9 (57) to 5.4 (34), in a tight con­test that only had a few points dif­fer­ence all day.

Wa­gin kicked away in the last quar­ter to seal the vic­tory.

In the un­der-14s the two top sides, Nar­ro­gin and Katan­ning Wan­der­ers fought a tight bat­tle, with Nar­ro­gin win­ning by nine points, 5.3 (33) to 3.6 (24).

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