Fal­cons crash-land in fi­nal quar­ter

Pilbara News - - Sport - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­tures: Ali­cia Per­era

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.

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