Inverloch-Kongwak into the grand final
Inverloch-Kongwak won a crack at the first premiership in the new West Gippsland competition when it won an enthralling wind affected second semi-final against Cora Lynn on Saturday.
The match went down to the wire, six points the margin when the siren blew with the ball on Cora Lynn’s half forward line. The final scores were 12-23 to 13-11. The discrepancy in the number of scoring shots didn’t reflect the tightness of the game.
Aided by the wind, strongly favouring the side kicking to the southern end of the Nar Nar Goon ground, Inverloch-Kongwak had chances to get off to a flying start but its first seven scores were all behinds, many of them forced through or the ball touched before reaching the goal line.
It was Cora Lynn that posted the first goal with their first attack at the 16-minute mark when Ryan Gillis marked strongly at the top of the goal square.
Inverloch advanced to 4-10 at quarter time, two late goals steadying them and opening a 26-point lead.
It got two of the first three goals of the second term to increase the gap to 31 points before the Cobras clicked into gear to be within three points – 6-11 to 6-8 – at half time.
Cora Lynn’s third quarter was great and looked to have set it up to run over Inverloch in the last quarter with the wind although since half time it had been slightly less directly down the ground.
Inverloch’s lead was only 10 points at three-quarter time.
It had added 3-9 for the term; Cora Lynn getting better returns for its forward thrusts with 3-2. The scoreboard read 9-20 to 9-10. It was worrying times for Inverloch supporters. But the side dug deep, looked a little fitter at the finish and answered all the challenges.
The quarter’s first goal to Cora Lynn’s Nathan Gillis was answered when a running snap by Tom Wyatt bounced through.
Successive goals to the Cobras’ Heath Briggs gave them the lead – but only by one point – midway through the term.
Inverloch got it back on even terms before two crucial plays sealed the game for it.
A couple of names familiar in Gippsland League – Tom Hams (ex-Sale) and Andy Soumilas (ex-Garfield, Drouin) – snared critical goals.
Hams drove through a goal from almost 40 metres into the wind after accepting a handball and Soumilas somehow managed to thread a grubber kick from the forward pocket past a number of players.
A 50-metre goal from a free kick to Nathan Langley had Cora Lynn back within five points.
Then it was six points the difference with about two minutes left in the game.
Cora Lynn mounted an attack that Inverloch was able to stifle at the half forward line just as the siren sounded.
Goals were hard to come by for Inverloch but Toby Mahoney with three and Soumilas and Hams, two each, made telling contributions.
Oscar Toussant, Wyatt, Clinton McCaughan, Tom Bartholomew and Josh Clottu got the other goals.
For Cora Lynn Travis Woodfield and Nathan Langley led the way with three goals apiece, Biggs and Ryan and Nathan Gillis kicked two each and Lachlyn Peluso got one.
Inverloch-Kongwaks’s best were Dylan Clark, Soumilas, Joshua Purcell, Campbell McKenzie, Toussaint and William Hetherington.
Cora Lynn was best served by Andrew Green, Ryan Gillis, Briggs, Woodfield, Tim Payne and Chris Johnson.
Garfield fourths’ Bailey Friend, his side’s best player in Saturday’s second semi-final marks safely on his chest in front of Phillip Island’s Jarrod Anderson. Watching at the rear is Garfield’s Sean Lyall.
Garfield’s Josh Paterson breaks clear of Phillip Island pursuers in the fourths second semi-final. The Stars went down by 10 points in difficult windy conditions at Nar Nar Goon on Saturday..