‘Pies seniors, B grade netball, Rovers U18s into grand finals
Wangaratta books a ‘home’ premiership decider, downing Raiders by 30 points
WANGARATTA will battle for back-to-back Ovens and Murray premierships this Sunday after a sensational 30-point victory in yesterday’s preliminary final against Wodonga Raiders.
Led by skipper Michael Newton (six goals) and rugged midfielder Matt Kelly, the Magpies lifted after looking dead on their feet in the third quarter and finished the game full of running.
Kelly finished the match with 27 touches but it was his second half that was particu- larly influential as he won several important clearances and also nailed a team lifting goal to start the final quarter.
Newton was always going to provide the Raiders’ defence with some serious headaches and took a number of key marks in the first half and kicked two stunning banana goals in the third quarter to help push the side into the lead.
Wangaratta coach Dean Stone said following the match that he was pleased the team responded after the Raiders controlled most of the first half.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” he said.
“They’ve beaten us twice this year and they play a different style to most teams you face each week.
“We knew what we had to do but we just couldn’t do it in the first half but thankfully the boys lifted after half time, we got our systems right and were able to pull away.”
In what was a see-sawing encounter, the Raiders’ run and gun style of play brought them plenty of forward attacks but it also opened them up when Wangaratta used the ball well.
Mark Anderson’s job on star Raider Brodie Filo was superb while fellow defenders Dylan Van Berlo, Jamie Anderson and Ben Douthie enjoyed productive afternoons.
The Raiders led by a goal at the main break but Wangaratta edged ahead to lead by four points when the teams split for the three quarter time huddles.
Kelly landed the crucial first goal of the final term to give the Magpies some breathing space as he and ruckman Zack Leitch gave the Wangaratta forwards plenty of opportunities.
Goals to Matt Hedin, who also played well up forward, Newton and Leitch then followed as the Magpies finished full of run to win 15.8 (98) to 9.14 (68).
While Kelly deservedly drew praise from his coach, Stone was very happy with effort right across the board.
“That’s what Matt does,” he said.
“The bigger the game the more he builds himself up.
“His will to stand in someone’s way and tackle head on is fantastic.
“But I thought we had a lot of players stand up when it mattered today and that was the most pleasing thing.”
Outgoing Wodonga Raiders coach Darryn Creswell productive some heavy criticism of the umpiring, however, he admits the Demons were outclassed.
“Our effort was there but unfortunately we just couldn’t execute,” he said.
In what is a replay of last year’s grand final, Wangaratta will now meet Albury at the Norm Minns Oval to decide who will be this year’s premier.