Gisborne, Strathfieldsaye dominate semi-final clashes
by Nathan Dole
GISBORNE stayed in the premiership race as Strathfieldsaye Storm powered to another grand final appearance in the weekend’s Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy semi-finals.
It was make-or-break for Gisborne and Golden Square when they met in Sunday’s first semi-final at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
This season’s meetings stood at one-all after both clubs triumphed on home turf.
In week one of the finals, Gisborne was outplayed in the second half of the qualifying final against Eaglehawk, and Golden Square won a hard-fought elimination final against Sandhurst.
It was Gisborne which made a flying start to the first semi-final.
Gisborne led 40-10 at quarter-time and the pressure on Square did not ease up.
Led by the brilliance of onballer Casey Summerfield, ruckman Josh Grabham, Scott and Tim Walsh, Gisborne charged to a 9.7 (61) to 2.7 (19) lead by half-time.
Key forward Pat McKenna went on to kick a match-high five goals and had plenty of support as the Clinton Young-coached Gisborne scored 7.3 to 3.6 in the second half.
Golden Square’s only multiple goalkicker was Jake Thrum on three.
By the final siren, Gisborne led 16.10 (106) to 5.13 (43).
McKenna’s tally of five lifted his season mark to 89 at one, or possibly two games to go.
Other multiple goalkickers for Gisborne were Jake Conolan, Summerfield and Young on two each.
Gisborne’s best were Summerfield, Grabham, Scott Walsh, Tim Walsh, Nick Doolan and Brad Bernacki.
On a tough afternoon for Golden Square, Jon Coe starred in defence as Thrum, Ryan Hartley, Hamish Morcom, Matt Compston and Jayden Burke also played well for the Bernie Haberman-coached team in blue and gold.
Gisborne will now meet Eaglehawk in a preliminary final.
The Hawks were outrun for most of Saturday night’s second semi against Strathfieldsaye.
Despite a week’s rest after finishing the home and away series on top of the ladder, Storm playing coach Troy Coates and all 21 players made a brilliant start to the contest.
Storm surged to a five-goal lead by the 20-minute mark of the match
Strathfieldsaye’s dominance at the centre clearances, slick movement from stoppages, athletic forwards and rebound from defence were all key factors in the opening term.
Storm led 6.3 (39) to 0.1 (1) at quarter-time.
Eaglehawk lifted its pressure and run markedly in the second quarter, but battled to take marks inside forward 50m or retain possession in attack.
The Hawks scored 1.4 to 1.3 as Storm led 48-17 by the long break.
Many of Storm’s attacks were set up the hard-running and creative Jake Moorhead and Sam Heavyside, while Harry Conway was outstanding across the half-back line.
Strathfieldsaye won the third quarter, 17-7, and then blitzed in the last term to added 5.5 to just four points.
For one of the few times this season, gun full-forward Lachlan Sharp had limited impact on the contest.
Sharp booted two goals, but honours went to Eaglehawk’s Joel Mullen.
An ankle injury meant Sharp spent most of the second half on the bench.
In Sharp’s absence it was Lachlan Wallace who kicked a match-high three goals as Bryce Curnow, Bailey Henderson and Lachlan Gill also added two apiece.
Goalkickers for the Hawks were Shaun Knott, Ben McPhee and Riley Saunders.
Best for Storm were Moorhead, Conway, Heayside, William Wallace, Lachlan Wallace and Caleb Sheahan.
Mullen, Clayton Holmes, Brenton Conforti, Gedd Hommelhoff, Jack Fallon and Cameron McGlashan were best for Eaglehawk.
The Hawks and coach Travis Matheson now faces a massive test of regrouping for Saturday’s preliminary final against a resurgent Gisborne.
Strathfieldsaye Storm is through to the reserves grand final after a 42-point win against Eaglehawk in the second semi.
A highlight of the game was Lachlan Bonney’s 200th match for Strathfieldsaye.
Bonney became the first player in Storm’s 10-year history to reach the milestone.
A triple premiership player at senior level, Bonney was selected in a back pocket in Storm’s Team of the Decade and was among the best in the reserves win on Saturday.
Jacob Heavyside and Riley Wilson led Storm’s attack on two goals each, as Wilson, Bonney, Daniel Clohesy and James Schischka were Strathfieldsaye’s best.
Henry Miller, Tyler Miles, Rhys Foster and Tyler Eliades worked hard for the Hawks.
Eaglehawk takes on South Bendigo, which beat Gisborne by 37 points in the first semi, for a place in the grand final.
A five-goal blitz in the second term of Sunday’s first semi set up South Bendigo’s big win against the Bulldogs.
Gisborne led 19-18 at quarter-time, but the Bloods scored 5.1 to 0.3 in the next quarter.
Adam Williams kicked a match-high goals for South Bendigo as Cohen Balnaves added two in a best afield performance.
Cody Stewart, Daniel Johnstone, Aidan Brohm, Tyler McLeod and Jayden Sheean starred for a Bloods line-up which has eliminated Golden Square and Gisborne from the premiership race.
In the under-18s competition, Sandhurst achieved a five-goal turnaround to defeat Strathfieldsaye in Saturday’s second semi-final.
Storm led 22-7 at half-time, but the Dragons fired up to win the third term, 13-0.
Sandhurst scored 4.1 to 1.2 in the last quarter to complete a 7.3 (45) to 4.6 (30) victory.
Zac Sims kicked two goals for the Dragons as Caleb Connick, Cobi Maxted, Isaac Carracher, Noah Walsh and Cooper Smith were best.
Strathfieldsaye’s best were Mitch Wakefield, Riley Bullock, Abe Sheahan, Bode Stevens, Ethan Coleman and Rhys Beamish.
Storm will take on Kangaroo Flat in next Saturday’s preliminary final.
The Roos blitzed in the third quarter of the first semi showdown with Gisborne.
The Bulldogs led 15-9 at half-time before Kangaroo Flat went on a goalscoring spree in the crucial third term.
Kangaroo Flat scored 5.1 to 1.1 for a three-goal lead at a quarter to go.
Gisborne lifted, but the Roos responded for an 8.6 (54) to 6.5 (41) result.
Jack Hickman, Hakeem Johnson and Lachlan Wilson all kicked two goals for the Kangaroos.
The Gisborne attack was led by Lachlan Shore on three.
Best for Kangaroo Flat were Mitch Sherlock, Mitch Trewhella, Hakeem Johnson, Lachlan Wilson, Jack Hickman and Mitchell Rovers.
Sean Merrett, Josh Hickmott, Elijah Bretherton, Jacob Ellings, Flynn Lakey and Josh Mcdonald worked for Gisborne.
First semi-final scoreboard:
Gisborne 6.4 9.7 14.9 16.10 (106)
Golden Square 1.4 2.7 4.11 5.13 (43)
GOALS – Gisborne: P. McKenna 5, J. Conolan, C. Summerfield, C. Young, B. Bernacki, M. Goodyear, S. Walsh, T. Walsh, D. Weaver. Golden Square: J. Thrum, J. Burke, A. Jenkyn.
BEST – Gisborne: C. Summerfield, J. Grabham, S. Walsh, T. Walsh, N. Doolan, B. Bernacki. Golden Square: J. Coe, J. Thrum, R. Hartley, H. Morcom, M. Compston, J. Burke.
South Bendigo 3.0 8.1 9.3 12.4 (76)
Gisborne 3.1 3.4 4.8 5.9 (39)
GOALS – South Bendigo: A. Williams 4, C. Balnaves 2, A. Brohm, M. Hocking, J. Sheean, C. Stewart, B. Westley, B. Wright. Gisborne: H. Doricic, J. Vernon 2, P. Trotta.
BEST – South Bendigo: C. Balnaves, C. Stewart, D. Johnstone, A. Brohm, T. McLeod, J. Sheean. Gisborne: P. Trotta, J. Oliaro, M. Monaghan, H. Doricic, B. Young, T. Fraser.
Kangaroo Flat 0.3 1.3 6.4 8.6 (54)
Gisborne 1.2 2.3 3.4 6.5 (41)
GOALS – Kangaroo Flat: J. Hickman, M. Johnson, L. Wilson 2, R. O’Keefe, M. Rovers. Gisborne: L. Shore 3, J. Bannan, M. Cassidy, L. Weber.
BEST – Kangaroo Flat: M. Sherlock, M. Trewhella, H. Johnson, L. Wilson, J. Hickman, M. Rovers. Gisborne: S. Merrett, J. Hickmott, E. Bretherton, J. Ellings, F. Lakey, J. McDonald.
Second semi-final scoreboard:
Strathfieldsaye 6.3 7.6 9.11 14.16 (100)
Eaglehawk 0.1 2.5 3.6 3.10 (28)
GOALS – Strathfieldsaye: L. Wallace 3, B. Curnow, L. Gill, B. Henderson, L. Sharp 2, T. Coates, J. Formosa, K. Geary. Eaglehawk: S. Knott, B. McPhee, R. Saunders.
BEST – Strathfieldsaye: J. Moorhead, H. Conway, S. Heavyside, W. Wallace, L. Wallace, C. Sheahan. Eaglehawk: J. Mullen, C. Holmes, B. Conforti, G. Hommelhoff, J. Fallon, C. McGlashan.
Strathfieldsaye 2.2 2.7 4.10 8.15 (63)
Eaglehawk 0.1 2.3 2.3 3.3 (21)
GOALS – J. Heavyside, R. Wilson 2, P. Blandford, J. Blood, S. Murphy, B. Rohde. Eaglehawk: C. Davies, S. Galvin, C. West.
BEST – Strathfieldsaye: R. Wilson, L. Bonney, D. Clohesy, J. Schischka, J. Heavyside, H. Crone. Eaglehawk: H. Miller, T. Miles, R. Foster, T. Eliades, B. Tanner, J. Reilly.
Sandhurst 0.1 1.1 3.2 7.3 (45)
Strathfieldsaye 2.3 3.4 3.4 4.6 (30)
GOALS – Sandhurst: Z. Sims 2, Z. Featherby, C. Maxted, C. Sexton, C. Smith, N. Walsh. Strathfieldsaye: E. Coleman, B. Stevens, M. Wakefield, L. White.
BEST – Sandhurst: C. Connick, C. Maxted, I. Carracher, N. Walsh, C. Smith. Strathfieldsaye: M. Wakefield, R. Bullock, A. Sheahan, B. Stevens, E. Coleman.
Schedule for Saturday’s preliminary finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
Seniors at 3.10pm: Eaglehawk v Gisborne.
Reserves at 1pm: Eaglehawk v South Bendigo.
Under-18s at 11am: Strathfieldsaye v Kangaroo Flat.