In­ver­loch-Kong­wak into the grand fi­nal

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - LIFTOUT -

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..

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