Falcons fight hard to claim title thriller
Karratha Falcons have upset Wickham Wolves by six points to claim the North Pilbara Football League’s reserves premiership in one of the season’s most thrilling games.
The Falcons made the Wolves pay for their inaccurate kicking as they took control of the game in a dour last quarter for an 8.6 (54) to 6.12 (48) victory.
Falcons coach Cameron Ling said his team showed good oldfashioned grit and determination after what had been a tough few years on the field.
“I’ve never been in such a gutsy win with the boys before,” he said.
“We’ve gone through some changes and heartaches at the club and it’s taken its toll, so for the boys to stand up and fight like they did, I’m really proud.”
The Falcons’ surprise win not only netted premiership glory but helped salvage what could otherwise have been a disappointing year.
While the Falcons league side spent much of the year near the bottom of the ladder, they improved late in the season and blooded a lot of young players.
Ling said that with the committee, playing group and club developing into a real strong unit, the Falcons’ future was bright.
For the Wolves, on the other hand, the loss marked a painful end to a season that had promised so much.
Both the Wolves league and reserves sides had finished on top of the ladder, but fell short in the pressure cooker of finals football.
For the Wolves reserves, that pressure appeared to show early in their grand final clash as they fell behind in the first quarter.
While they wrestled the lead back in the second to go into halftime with a 13-point lead, the Wolves’ failure to convert their chances as they kicked 5.8 to 4.1 meant the Falcons were well within reach.
With the Wolves continuing to spray their shots in the third term to boot 6.12, a determined Falcons outfit made the most of their chances to kick 7.4 and close to within two points.
The last term emerged as a dour, hard-fought tussle as both defences dominated play and skill errors going forward made scoring difficult.
With the Wolves kept scoreless, it was only a moment of brilliance by Falcons forward David Ward, as he snapped a goal in heavy traffic, that eventually separated the two sides and secured the six-point victory.
Coach Ling said the last nerveracking 20 minutes of the game had felt like they lasted for an hour.
He paid credit to midfielders Michael James and best-onground Tristan Sawyer for their work around the ground, while the win also made for a special send-off for retiring player Dean Lombardo.
Ward led the way on the scoreboard for the Falcons as he and James Van Hoof both kicked three goals, while Brett McCormack chipped in with two.
Ling paid tribute to the spirit of the Wolves players and thanked everyone for their support.