Phillip Island forward Beau Runnalls dodges and weaves before kicking the ball deep into the Island’s forward 50. Runnalls was impressive on the lead but he was inaccurate in front of goal, finishing with 6.10 for the day.
PHILLIP Island easily accounted for Fish Creek by 82 points in the first elimination final on Saturday in a perfect day for footy at Bass.
Conditions couldn’t have been any better for the first ever final played at Bass, with blue skies and a pristine surface greeting the two sides.
The match began with Kangaroo Travis Manne against Mitch Price in the ruck with the Island having more composure from the start.
Beau Runnalls was awarded a free kick for being held off the ball and converted from 45m directly in front to open proceedings.
A free kick was paid to Fish Creek at the resumption of play which saw Shane Urbans mark on the 50m arc.
A long kick for goal by Urbans was marked by big forward Luke Damon to give the Kangaroos the instant reply.
The umpires were hot on the whistle in the opening term, with a number of holding the ball decisions paid against both teams.
The Bulldogs looked to be on top in general play but once again Fish Creek were able to find Damon who gathered the ball in front of opponent Scott Riordan and slammed through a goal from 40m to give them the lead.
But this was short-lived as Tom Cole sent a spearing low pass inside 50 which Jack Taylor managed to take on his chest close to the ground.
He duly converted from 35m as the Island started to gain control.
In an ideal day for big men, Price was wreaking havoc for the Bulldogs, attracting numbers and taking strong marks in the air.
A long kick from James Taylor saw Price take a big pack mark and he converted from close range.
The Island’s pressure was starting to show as Chad Macri sprayed a ball out on the full coming out of defence in the dying stages.
James Taylor seized the opportunity and snapped truly from the boundary to give the Bulldogs a 14 point buffer at the first change.
The second term began with scrappy play before James Taylor was once again in the action, setting up Runnalls for his second.
Fish Creek looked to be on holiday already as they succumbed to the immense pressure from the Island.
They showed no composure and poor disposal, with the Island defenders such as Josh Docherty continually cutting off kicks across half back.
Docherty left the field with an ankle injury and the Island will be hoping he recovers for this week’s semi-final.
Justin Smith provided run for the Kangaroos, but he had little support as the Bulldogs continued to lift their intensity.
Ben Van Brummelen kicked back to back goals for the Island before inaccuracy in front of goal started to hinder their game.
A further three goals to two for the quarter saw Phillip Island hold a 45 point lead at the half time break.
Fish Creek showed a much improved effort in the third quarter as the Island had a minor lapse.
They opened the second half with a long bomb inside 50 from Shane Urbans, which freakishly took a leg break that Shane Warne would be proud of, to give Fish Creek Creek a glimmer of hope.
Any chance of a comeback was thwarted when a great passage of play saw Bulldog Johan Van Zanen dodge around his opponent and dash down the wing, kicking long to Runnalls’ advantage for a mark and goal from close range.
The Island once again held a 45 point lead going into the final term.
After being one of Fish Creek’s best performers on the day, Chad Macri was moved to James Taylor in the second half but could do little to curb his influence.
Taylor continued to get his hands on the footy and set up Runnalls for his sixth goal in the opening stages.
The silky forward could have kicked a haul of goals with 16 scoring shots for the day but inaccuracy cost him as he finished with 6.10.
Fish Creek youngster Ryan McGannon played his heart out and was well supported across the day by veteran defender Greg Hoskin and Trent Price.
For the Island, Michael Duiker had the ball on a string for much of the day, and coach Brendan Kimber won possession after possession, particularly in the second half.
Bulldog Price goaled on the final siren to cap off a good game for the ruckman/forward, who took a number of big marks throughout the match.
The Island ran out 82 point winners and will face Inverloch-Kongwak next week on Sunday at Stony Creek, in what should be a ripping contest.