STONY Creek proved themselves a worthy finalist last Saturday when they pushed the reigning premiers, Dalyston, all the way in their ‘match of the day’ clash at Dalyston.
Ultimately, the Magpies reasserted their control of the game in the latter stages but with a string of four unanswered goals in the last quarter; to Rick Saunders, Kerem Baskaya, Dylan Zuidema and Baskaya again, admittedly after a couple of 50-metre penalties, the Lions gave them a scare.
And they could be expected to cause an upset come finals time.
The home team started strongly in the match and with Stony’s burly full forward being well held by Matt Whittaker, and unable to kick a goal to half time, they got out to a six goal to two lead by the long break.
Glenn Parker and Chris Graham were the scorers in the first quarter with Jamie Cann answering for Stony.
Cann’s chance came after a terrific tackle on Dalyston’s Blake Carew.
The second quarter was dominated by Dalyston, despite Brad Fisher uncharacteristically missing some marks at half back.
A relayed free to Parker, who goaled from 20 metres got the ball rolling and when Matt Rosendale received a long kick from Carew, they’d extended the lead to three goals on a low-scoring day.
Michael Marotta was having regular spells on the ball but also proved creative up forward, seizing the ball as it came over the pack at CHF and, displaying his exquisite skills, booted a goal from 50 metres out.
When Parker also kicked a set shot from 50 it was how far Magpies!
But Stony got a steadier through Jacob Byrnes in the shadows of half time and really made a much better fist of it after the resumption with big Baskaya presenting strongly on his way to five second half goals including two to open the term.
Dalyston matched their effort with three of their own to Marotta again, Brad Fisher from tight in the pocket and Darcy Brosnan in red time.
Dalyston was still double Stony’s score at the last change and Kainen Schrape extended the lead to 39 points at the three-minute mark of the last before Stony rattled on four goals of their own.
There was never any real chance that Stony would capitalise after cutting the lead to 15 points but it was a good effort all the same.
Michael Marotta capped off a fine day with a mark at half forward, playing on and passing laces out to Kristian Butler within range.
After his goal at the 19 minute mark, both teams played out time with Dalyston the worthy winners, but Stony far from disgraced.
Full coverage of the weekends football in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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