Storm makes it through to another grand final
By Richard Jones
STRATHFIELDSAYE earned the right to face minor premiers Eaglehawk in the 2017 BFNL grand final.
The Storm downed Golden Square by 16 points in the preliminary final and in the process ended the league’s run of single digit finals finishes.
The addition of TAC Cup-listed Lachlan Wallace, from the Bendigo Pioneers, proved to be a master stroke from Storm coach Darryl Wilson.
Wallace bobbed up with some big plays inside 50m, including the pack-mark-of-the-day and a goal from the resulting set shot.
But co-captain Jayden Donaldson (now coaching Bridgewater in the LVFL) was Strathfieldsaye’s star. He controlled the game after half-time with his defensive intercept marking and held Square’s main forward target, Dylan Johnstone, to a solitary goal.
The Bulldogs had six goals on the board by the 10-minute mark of the second term but managed a paltry three more for the remainder of play.
And while Square’s forward line efforts disintegrated the Storm looked much more threatening in attack.
Ron Best medallist Lachlan Sharp booted five goals. He also dished off a couple more while big Harry Conway was a constant marking threat in attack and landed two majors.
Hamish Morcom was clearly Golden Square’s best on the day. Not only did he boot three vital majors but in the second half appeared to be the only Bulldog who could take a mark inside forward 50.
Skipper Jack Geary worked hard all day while his midfield partner Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird who went into the game with a rib injury spent most of the day up forward.
Storm coach Darryl Wilson said after the game that with at least 10 top players it was a difficult decision for he and the match committee to come up with a best six.
“It was actually quite hard. When you have 10 or 11 better players on the day you’re going all right,” he said.
But Wilson agreed that an injury to running defender Callum Brady wasn’t great news.
“He’s hurt his hip flexor so it’s going to be hard for him to be fit and ready for the grand final,” the coach said.
Golden Square coach Bernie Haberman agreed that without injured key forward Travis Baird inside 50 the Dogs’ forward line lacked potency.
“We did manage to take the game right up to them for the first quarter-and-a-half but without Travis we weren’t able to maintain it,” he said.
“We were a bit beaten up after last weekend (the first semi-final win over Sandhurst) and it caught up with us in the end.
“But still we were resilient. We kept hanging in there and managed to kick the first goal of the last quarter.
“That goal got us back within five points but a win wasn’t to be,” Haberman said.
Strathfieldsaye 2.3 6.9 9.10 10.17 (77)
Golden Square 4.2 7.3 8.5 9.7 (61)
Goals – Storm: Lachlan Sharp 5, Harry Conway 2, Lachlan Wallace, Brad Stringer, Brad Rohde. Square: Hamish Morcom 3, Harry Donegan 2, Jack Geary, Dylan Johnstone, Tom Toma, Liam Marciano.
Best --- Storm: Jayden Donaldson (best afield), Kallen Geary, Josh Formosa, Lachlan Wallace, Fergus Payne, Lachlan Sharp. Square: Hamish Morcom, Jonathan Coe, Jack Geary, Thomas Toma.
Around the traps, grand final results --- North Central: Wycheproof-Narraport 9.9 (63) d Birchip-Watchem 7.9 (51).
Maryborough-Castlemaine DFL: Carisbrook 11.7 (73) d Navarre 7.11 (53).
Wyche and the Brookers joined Calivil United (Loddon Valley) and Leithchville-Gunbower (Heathcote DFL) as central Victorian premiers for the 2017 season.
And Carisbrook’s victory brought to an end the Navarre Grasshoppers’ string of four MCDFL premierships in a row, with the Hoppers unable to stretch the streak to five.
Draw for BFNL 2017 grand finals --– football: Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk. A grade netball: Sandhurst v Golden Square.
Golden Square edged out Gisborne to win the heart-stopping netty preliminary final by three goals: 53-50.