‘Pies se­niors, B grade net­ball, Rovers U18s into grand fi­nals

Wan­garatta books a ‘home’ pre­mier­ship de­cider, down­ing Raiders by 30 points

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - By JEREMY WIL­SON

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.

PHO­TOS: Melissa Beat­tie

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