Wickham stumble in home semi
South Hedland Swans have reasserted their authority over the competition with a one-point win away from home over Wickham Wolves.
Having fallen off the mark in the past month, culminating in losing top spot on the ladder to the Wolves in the final round, the Swans went into the game as underdogs for the first time this season.
Neither team was at its best, but the Swans managed to scrap out an ugly 9.13 (67) to 10.6 (66) win to secure a home grand final.
There were high expectations going into the game, but the first quarter was a shambles as both teams struggled to click into gear.
The Wolves looked pedestrian in attack, while at the other end, the Swans couldn’t buy a goal and went into the first break trailing by three points.
A half-time scoreline of 5.9 (39) to 5.3 (33) to the visitors set the scene for a huge second half, and it was the Wolves who came out playing the brand of footy that had been missing in the opening terms.
The lead blew out to 11 in favour of the home side at one stage, but the Wolves’ wheels came off in the final 10 minutes of the quarter and the Swans capitalised to go into the final change eight points ahead.
The Wolves came out firing once again in the final term and quickly reeled the lead back to one, but a bungled kick out of the goal square gifted the Swans a major and breathing space.
A goal with three minutes on the clock gave the home crowd a voice, but despite keeping up forward pressure in the dying minutes, the Wolves were unable to steal the final points to snatch victory.
Of concern for the Wolves going into this weekend’s do-or-die game will be contested possessions, where they were completely outclassed, particularly in the air, by the Swans all night.
Raymond Taylor cops a high one in the third quarter.
Jonathon Bullock beats Raymond Dhu to the ball on the right wing.
A huge defensive effort kept the Swans’ noses in front.