Inverloch-Kongwak’s Lewie Rankin clears the ball out of defence in Sunday’s final against Korumburra-Bena. The winger found space on a number of occasions throughout the match and was amongst the Sea Eagles’ best players.
By Mitch Guy
INVERLOCH-Kongwak has overcome a fast-finishing Korumburra-Bena to record a fighting seven point win in the 2nd Elimination Final at Fish Creek on Sunday.
The match started with a flurry of contests as both sides adjusted to the finals intensity in good conditions apart from a muddy area in the middle of the Fish Creek ground.
After three behinds the Bulldogs kicked their first goal through Jake Cochrane to give them an early lead.
I-K’s Lucas McMillan was looking lively up forward early as Thomas Wyatt streamed forward to kick a well flighted pass to the big man which he converted from close range for the Sea Eagles’ first of the afternoon.
It was a hot footy early on in the first quarter with neither side giving an inch causing regular turnovers.
This allowed for both sides to hurt the opposition on the rebound and made for a high scoring opening stanza.
Bulldog Chris Urie weaved some magic as he tapped the ball along the ground against two opponents, gathered and snapped a left foot goal across his body as the sides went goal for goal.
Through the midfield there was an intriguing battle between Korumburra-Bena’s James North and Paul Pattison, up against Sea Eagles Chris Terlich and Adam Cross.
Pattison in particular was in the play a lot, and he streamed forward to kick a running goal from long range to give the Bulldogs the advantage as quarter time approached.
In the dying stages of the first term, Dylan Clark made a fantastic intercept from a K-B handball to run into an open goal and close the gap to eight points before the siren sounded seconds later.
The free flowing nature of the game was stalled in the second quarter as the Sea Eagles lifted their work rate and applied defensive pressure on the Bulldogs.
This resulted in a long running goal to Clark who was starting to put his stamp on proceedings.
I-K started to get on top and extended their lead further when McMillan goaled on the run after a long ball inside 50.
The match turned into a slog for the remainder of the quarter which was riddled with poor disposal and lack of composure.
The Sea Eagles held a 12 point lead at the main break but the match was well and truly up for grabs.
The third term started well for the Bulldogs, with Murray Fleming kicking the first for the quarter.
A slice of luck saw an errant snap fall into the hands of McMillan close to the boundary and the experienced goal kicker snapped the goal to put I-K further ahead.
Daniel Houston joined the party as he kicked another goal on the run from 40m, as the Sea Eagles gained the ascendency.
Michael Cooke was providing a strong forward target for the Bulldogs and goaled on the run from 30m out to keep his side in touch.
But McMillan’s involvement in the next two plays proved the difference in the third quarter and set up the eventual win for the Sea Eagles.
He marked strongly on the lead above his head, before passing to Greg Munro who found a paddock of space and converted from 25m out.
This was followed by Clark running onto a long ball across half forward, which he tapped along the ground before gathering, wheeling around and dashing past his opponent and delivering to McMillan.
The big forward could do no wrong as he calmly slotted the major to put the Sea Eagles 24 points up at the final change with victory in sights.
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Korumburra-Bena came out from the three quarter time huddle looking like a team with nothing to lose.
Youngster Josh Hopkins led the way in the final term, winning a number of vital clearances and leading by example.
He kicked the opening goal of the final term to bridge the gap, which was quickly thwarted by McMillan who once again marked and kicked his fifth of the day to make things difficult for the Bulldogs at the 10 minute mark.
Hopkins was again in the action as he kicked a long goal to make it a 13 point deficit.
Korumburra-Bena were buoyed by the 17 year old’s efforts and were now full of run.
Pattison capped off a stellar game as he found space to calmly slot a goal as the Bulldogs crowd found their voice.
After a number of ball-ups and plenty of contests, a free kick was paid to Bulldog Ash Zuidema who launched a long ball forward.
The Sea Eagles were able to spoil the marking contest and Lawton cleared the ball to Terlich as the siren sounded.
The Sea Eagles showed plenty of character in the win and will take confidence from their performance into this week’s semi-final clash against Phillip Island.