WONTHAGGI Power will play Maffra next week in the first semi-final after a heart-stopping victory over the Sale Magpies at Morwell on Sunday.
There were no second chances as this game went down to the wire, the result in the balance right up to the final seconds of the match and the big crowd was enjoying the terrific contest.
Honours had been shared in the matches played during the season so this game was always going to be close and tough!
Wonthaggi seemed to settle better in this big occasion game and soon had a goal on the board through Nathan Jones.
Sale was intent in bottling up the game, not allowing the quicker Power players to get their running game flowing.
Both sides were going in hard and this was also contributing to the stoppages.
Aidan Lindsay, Michael Kelly and Nathan Jones were busy around the packs while Byron Dryden, Jarrod Membrey and Matt Howell were steady in defence.
The umpires were doing a good job, letting the game flow and allowing the players to settle into the finals pressure.
Power’s second goal came from Adam Cook, again presenting strongly across half forward.
Power’s tackling was also serving the team well.
Toma Huther marked strongly and brought up Wonthaggi’s third goal.
Sale’s defence was under pressure but the reliable Andrew Quirk, Shane Fyfe and Joel Wallace were doing a great job.
Jack Lipman in the ruck was having a big battle with Power’s big man Chris Wylie.
Wylie added another goal for Power and Riley Lindsay scored another to give Power the start they wanted.
Jason Gram snapped one back for Sale towards the end of the quarter to give Sale their first goal.
It had been a big quarter for Power with strong running and they had dominated play. Could they sustain the effort?
Sale got the first goal through Ben Dessent who was starting to have a real influence up forward.
Sale’s smaller players, Tom Hams, Kane Martin, Justin McLay and Nick Mason were working their way into the contest and it was Power that was now under pressure.
Gram snapped another goal and Sale continued to lift and were right in the game.
When Gram got another Sale were breathing down the neck of Power.
Cook continued to present strongly up forward for Wonthaggi but it was Sale that was getting to the fall of the ball and pressing up forward and around the centre.
The game had become scrambly.
Troy Harley goaled for Wonthaggi to take some pressure off but Lipman responded for the Magpies.
Kelly goaled on the run for Wonthaggi but Chris Laverty responded for Sale.
The game was again in the balance as the half time siren rang.
Power lead by 13 points but the game was far from over.
Conditions were good for football at Morwell but the intensity was keeping the scoring down.
A strong mark and goal to Nathan Jones gave Power the start they wanted while Sale went forward and hit the post twice.
It was already a battle of the backlines and Sale was under pressure with the injury list mounting.
Power scored an easy goal through Cook but Sale bounced back with another to Dessent. He followed up with another soon after.
When Lipman scored the next there was only a goal in it. Sale lost another player through injury but their strength around the ground was starting to have an impact.
Sale also continued to hunt in packs. With only seven points the difference at orange time the game was there to be won.
It would be the final quarter of football for the season for one of these sides and it was down to who wanted the victory the most.
Sale was first into attack, making the running by switching play and kicking to space.
When Dessent goaled, they were in front for the first time. But Power wasn’t giving in.
A strong mark and goal to Troy Harley gave them the lead again and now they had to hold on to it.
The game was tough but as always between these two sides played in good spirit.
With minutes to play Sale surged forward but could only manage points. They were edging closer, hitting the post twice.
Power were able to hold on for a well-deserved win and keep their final’s dream alive.
It had been another Gippsland League epic final and the crowd clapped both sides off the ground. The game could have gone either way!
Power and Parrots in reserves final
WONTHAGGI Power will face Leongatha in Sunday’s first semi-final after the Power rolled Drouin on Sunday at Morwell.
The Power v Drouin game was predicted to be a close one with honours shared during the home and away matches.
The first quarter was very even with both sides scoring two goals however Power established a good lead in the second quarter scoring six goals and holding Drouin goalless.
Rod Tack and Phil Young along with Jake Thomas were damaging up forward.
Power continued to work hard through the centre and across the backline to maintain the pressure in the second half.
Luke O’Connor, Trent Hamilton and Tom Wells were providing plenty of drive around the packs.
Power continued to build on the scoreboard and ran out comfortable winners.
They look forward to playing traditional rivals Leongatha next week in the semi-finals.
The Parrots were not so impressive, going down to Traralgon at Traralgon in Saturday’s qualifying final.
But they earned the double chance after a big second half to the season and will be fired up for Sunday’s second-semi.