INVERLOCH-Kongwak not Killy-Bass are vying for top spot on the West Gippsland ladder but it was the Panthers who came out of the blocks firing, ably led by Chris Endres, Brent Macaffer, Mitchell Whitham and Jason Wells at his elusive best up forward.
They had all the answers and counter-punched IK’s wayward kicking into the forward line to score six straight goals up to the first change.
IK opened the day’s scoring, with Mahoney, Wyatt, Cross and finally Hetherington all getting hands on the ball in the scoring zone before a mistake by a KB defender allowed a quick goal.
A free kick to Endres out of the centre and a long bomb by Wells was the reply and with Ben Law and Clint McCaughan already engaged in a good battle in the ruck, it was game on at the stoppages with some enthralling duels forward and back.
Wells got another soon after as the Panthers took a leaf out of the 1957 premiership team’s book, and attacked the ball with flair and talent.
Not that IK wasn’t gaining possession, they were but they were tending to over-use the ball in the windy conditions and simply couldn’t hit a target going into the forward 50.
Taylor Gibson chipped in with a couple and IK’s Tim Bartholomew kept them in touch with a beauty as both teams kicked ultra-straight despite the cross wind.
A late goal by Hetherington cut the margin before the first break but you had to like the way the Panthers were capitalising on IK’s mistakes and coach Macaffer told his charges he liked what he saw in the huddle.
But that was it.
That’s all she wrote.
Inexplicably IK totally dominated proceedings from then on, almost completely shutting KB down in attack, to kick 14 goals to two in a very dominant display.
They had multiple avenues to goal led by Bartholomew and Hetherington with the likes of Wyatt, Mahoney, the ruckman McCaughan and on-ballers including Andy Soumilas and Corey Casey chipping in.
The defence also clamped down on Wells and co but they had nowhere near the opportunities they had earlier.
It’s IK versus Dalyston at Daly this Saturday to decide flag-favouritism – one not to be missed.
Neither Kilcunda-Bass nor IK look like making the finals in the Reserves but KB might still be an outside chance after pulling off a nail-biting win at home last Saturday.
And it was a long snap for goal by Noel Jerrard towards the end of the third quarter which proved to be the difference. Trailing by eight points at the last change, IK’s Tom Whelan saved a certain goal at one end with a defensive punch and there was still time to win when IK scored a goal at the other.
But, in windy conditions, KB held on to keep slender finals’ hopes alive.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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