Falcons crash-land in final quarter
The Karratha Falcons narrowly missed recording their first win of the 2017 season after fading late in what was mostly a neck-and-neck game against the second-placed Wickham Wolves on Friday night.
Playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, the Falcons matched the Wolves for three quarters in a physical game at Bulgarra Oval. There were never more than a few points separating the teams at each quarter-time break.
Round 5 also marked the Belt Up Round for the NPFL, sponsored by the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, in which footballers reflected on the importance of safety on country roads.
League uniforms and footballs at all games carried a Belt Up logo and players took a minute to pay tribute to those injured or killed on country roads.
The match’s first half of play was marked by controlled, deliberate play from both teams.
Pressure to get ahead grew in the third term as Falcons players and fans sensed the possibility of a win and the Wolves feared a shock loss.
However, with both sides pushing each other equally, neither managed to break away by threequarter-time, setting the stage for a high-stakes final contest.
The final term proved to be the decider as the Wolves hit their straps while the Falcons lost their edge at the key moment.
With scores drawn at 59-all with 15 minutes left on the clock and both teams desperate for a goal yet missing opportunities, Wolves’ Stephen Grigg stepped up to give his team a much-needed major and boost their morale.
It began a late comeback for the Wolves, who followed it with another two unanswered majors as the game wound down.
The final score was a Wolves win, 11.14 (80) to Falcons’ 9.5 (59), keeping Falcons winless as of round 5.
Wickham league coach Richard Coates said while his team had been flat for much of the game, they had done well to turn it around in the last quarter.
“To their credit, the boys did what we needed to in that last quarter to get us over the line,” he said.
“Sometimes when good teams are down, they’ve got to find a way to win, and that’s what I was encouraged with.”
Karratha had better luck in the reserves match, getting a comfortable 14.7 (91) to 8.6 (55) win over Wickham.
Falcons' Thomas Wallis is on the mark as Wolves' Tyler Ridley takes his kick.
Falcons and Wolves players go up for the ruck.
Falcons' Malik Bin Hitam dodges a tackle from a Wolves player.