FISH Creek have booked their place in the 2016 Alberton grand final with a 10-point win over modern day rival Dalyston on Saturday.
The Kangaroos’ win firms their favouritism for the flag, while the Magpies are coming out of the match with what look to be a couple of injury concerns.
They went into the game without key utility Bret Thornton, and his absence was crucial.
They will be forced to win in next week’s preliminary final against Inverloch-Kongwak to be chance of challenging for the premiership against Fishy in two weeks.
With a heavy wind guessed to be worth a few goals advantage towards the golf club, Fish Creek winning the toss was a huge result for their chances.
Dalyston, though, scored the first goal after a free kick to Michael Harris 30 metres out just 90 seconds in.
But that was it as Fish Creek took over.
It was a hard fought midfield battle that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Ethan and Cal Park were a cut above for Fishy, distributing the ball efficiently to their teammates.
The Kangaroos took full advantage of the breeze, and despite some wayward kicking they managed to own the first quarter with goals to Jake Buckland, Tom Fusinato, Matt Kreymborg and a long bomb from Andrew Seccull.
At the break they held a lead of 22 points and it appeared Dalyston might struggle to keep up with their frenetic pace.
However it was a different story in the second term, with the Magpies mounting a charge of their own.
Brad Fisher was moved forward which gave the reigning premiers direction and the Magpies had more numbers around the ball, pressuring the Creek into uncharacteristic mistakes.
This aided their own spread and the turnovers resulted in at least three goals for the quarter.
Fishy were able to give themselves some breathing room with goals to Cal Park, Seccull and Kreymborg.
The rain started lightly before growing heavier towards the end of the first half, and with it brought came a few Magpie goals.
A clever snap from Clay Tait was followed by another to Kainen Schrape only seconds later.
Matt Rosendale reduced the margin to 14 points and then just on the siren, Fisher took a strong mark on the boundary and threaded it through.
Fish Creek coach Greg Hoskin warned his side that their attitude needed to be harder in the third term, and that their playing style would have to change as well.
Just like the first term, Dalyston kicked the first goal of the third, this time through Rosendale, but Fish Creek dominated the quarter.
The stoppage game was even more significant, with the Kangaroos winning the ball and creating many opportunities.
Forwards Seccull and Kreymborg presented well, while a few of their midfielders were able to slide down and add a goal to their name, including a crafty snap from Paul Tolongs and Ethan Park who long running effort sailed over the goal umpire’s head.
Ruckman Travis Manne, who’d taken marks in defence and around the middle, snuck forward and was on the end of a pass from young star Ryan McGannon.
Manne’s goal opened a 23 point lead which the Roos took to the last break.
This was extended when Cal Park marked a botched kick in from a behind just 20 metres out directly in front.
The lead blew out to 35 points when Trevor Hooker toe-poked a goal after a scrimmage in the goal square.
But Dalyston rallied again, sparked by a brilliant goal to Darcy Brosnan who won his own ball bravely and sent it through on his left from 35 metres.
Rosendale cut the margin with his fourth goal and Kristian Butler converted a free kick to give the Maggies a sniff.
Fisher kicked his second after a free directly in front and there was only 10 points in it.
But the siren sounded at 26 minutes, and with it came a collective sigh of relief from the Fishy fans.
The Roos will take two weeks to prepare for the winner of Dalyston and Inverloch-Kongwak.
Dalyston will be sweating on the fitness of Glen Parker who injured his ankle in the first quarter and took no further part, and Blake Carew whose shoulder injury in the third term looked serious.
From the boundary
EARLY in the last term, Dalyston were still in the contest when Tylah Osbaldeston kicked out from full back after a point. Unfortunately for him, he stubbed the kick and it landed in the waiting arms of Fish Creek’s Cal Park only 20 metres out. Park goaled which put the margin beyond reach. It was a cruel moment because apart from that, Osbaldeston did an excellent job in defence for his side all day.
Fancy a cold one?
THE lads selling beverages from the window of the Phillip Island Cricket Club rooms had a quiet day, simply due to the fact it was too cold to enjoy a frosty one. The first sale was made during the third quarter of the seconds, and it didn’t get much busier after that. To make matters worse, the rain came which
meant the bar staff couldn’t watch the match behind the people who took shelter under the cricket club rooms’ verandah!
Man bun mania
A QUICK head count of Inverloch-Kongwak’s thirds team had the man bun wearers clearly outnumbering those without. Just like the mullet of the late 1980s, the man bun is the must-have fashion accessory. Inverloch-Kongwak’s opponents on Saturday, Phillip Island, had a marginally lower count.
Mark of the day
DALYSTON’S Andrew Wallis is 34, stands 193cm and weighs 98kg (according to the Follower), so it was amazing to see the big guy soar into the stratosphere to pull in a remarkable mark in the reserves match on Saturday. He jumped early, got a delightful little ride on an IK opponent, but his legs were taken out from underneath. So to balance, he stuck an arm out but still managed to use the other arm to secure the ball to his chest and complete the speckie. He converted to give his team a handy lead.
Full coverage of the weekends football in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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