Check out all the results from week one of the 2013 finals series.
Darebin: 02.02, 05.04, 07.04, 10.06 (66)
St Kilda: 01.04, 04.04, 06.04, 06.05 (41)
Darebin: G. Hammond 4, S. Roussos 2, A. Reivers , M. Van Riel , S. Portway , T. Alexandrow
St Kilda: C. Standley 2, A. Bertagno , J. Male , S. Worthington , M. Conley
Darebin: K. Tyndall, A. Reivers, K. Scodellaro, S. Portway, J. Wilson, M. Van Riel
St Kilda: M. Conley, S. Scheggia, A. Arzoumanian, A. Bertagno, C. Sheehy, S. Worthington
Although St Kilda had defeated us just one week beforehand, going into our first final of the season was a whole different ball game. Despite the game being very tough and tight for three quarters, we broke away in the final term to claim a hard-earned 25-point win.
It was St Kilda that got on the board first with a couple of points and a goal but we eventually settled and got away to a five-point lead at the first break, orchestrated by some great, close defensive work and great transition football from our midfielders.
The game was back and forth in the second quarter with goals flowing for both teams. Although the lead changed hands, it was us that clung to a one-goal lead at the major break.
With a strong wind at their backs, the Sharks had a head of steam and worked hard to pinch back the lead midway through the third quarter. With only a couple of minutes left in the quarter, Georgia pulled out the party tricks by kicking a fantastic snap from the boundary line to level the scores at 40 a piece.
Although we could have gone into the break with the wind on our side in the final quarter, some fantastic in-and-under work from Tyndall saw the ball shoveled out to Dash who hit up Bec, spotting up Shaz who took a diving mark right on the siren. Shaz’s straight kick restored our lead heading into the final quarter.
The desire to win from every player was obvious as the Sharks couldn’t keep up with an onslaught of forward movements, started by Kate in the ruck, Sommer and Reivers roving and Tyndall at ground level. In the blink of an eye, our one-goal lead stretched to a 14-point lead. Soon after, the margin stretched to an uncatchable 26 points with just over five minutes to go.
With players cramping and niggles popping up left, right and centre, we ran out the rest of the game to trump the Sharks by 25 points and advance to next week’s Preliminary Final.
The inspirational midfield efforts of Sommer, Tyndall, Nic, Tilly and the returning Reivers, on the back of some excellent ruck work from Kate once again, gave us first use of the ball most of the time. Even when St Kilda went forward, they struggled to take marks inside 50 and had to rely on a bit of luck and good positioning at ground level to kick goals. Jem, Layna, Dash and Gunners’ defensive work was again impressive.
For the first time since we played St Albans, our forwards really had the chance to impact the contest and we forced our opponents to kick and hope coming out of defence rather than spot up a target, made possible thanks to some great forward pressure. As a result, Georgia kicked four, including two late goals to seal the game, and Shaz kicked two. Bec, Potter and Kristy were very impressive in creating scoring options for our forwards, not taking a backward step all game.
We hope that the ankle injury Nic picked up in the last quarter isn’t a season ender and Toni’s contribution before sitting out most of the second half with injury isn’t to be overlooked, suring up our half-back line and kicking a goal when going forward.
With a win in our cap for the first time in a while, and more importantly playing arguably our best footy of the season, what we can achieve this season is in our control.
We can now head into next week’s Preliminary Final with confidence in our game plan and confidence in our ability to win games when they’re there to be won.
Darebin: 02.04, 06.04, 10.07, 13.10 (88)
Diamond Creek: 01.0, 02.0, 02.0, 03.02 (20)
Darebin: S. Simpson 3, J. Lange 2, K. Brennan 2, A. O”Connor 2, L. Arnell , J. Dal Pos , S. Hammond , K. Paxman
Diamond Creek: T. Hetherington , B. Grech , D. Haines
Darebin: M. Hickey, D. Pearce, K. Paxman, S. Hammond, E. O”Dea, S. Smith
Diamond Creek: C. Dillon, D. Haines, S. Audley, A. Barden, C. Bernardi, S. Cross
With a spot in the grand final up for grabs, the semi-final between the reigning premiers and the Falcons was always going to be a hotly contested affair.
Despite having two convincing wins over the Creekers during the regular season, the Falcons knew that finals were and are a whole new ball game.
The Falcons won the toss and started with the wind, a strong and annoying wind, that swirled the ball towards the City end.
As predicted, the Creekers came out firing, hard at the ball and attacking the game. They were rewarded with the first goal of the match after being paid a free-kick close to goal. After withstanding the Creekers opening ten minutes of ferocity, the Falcons determination, patience and structure started to take better shape, and the Falcons began to dominate the possession count. The Falcons absorbed the pressure that had been so forcefully applied to start the game, and repelled it with conviction. Goals however, were harder to come by, with the windy conditions partly to blame. Nevertheless, the Falcons went into the quarter time break ten points up.
Kicking into the breeze to the Sydney end, the Falcons didn’t skip a beat, piling on four goals to one in a relentless effort, the Falcons continued to strip the game away from the Creekers’ control. Despite some back-chat on the field and abuse from the boundary, the Falcons maintained their discipline. I (this week’s mystery match-report writer) have never been so proud to be a Falcon as when I watched my teammates, who were being continually sledged, pushed and prodded, ignore their tormentors and do what they do best – play footy with conviction and integrity.
After the half time break, and with every excuse to take their foot off the accelerator, the Falcons continued to dominate, denying the Creekers a scoring shot, and piling on four goals of their own. The premiership quarter put the game out of reach of the Creekers’ grasp.
Going into the last quarter and with the body language and laughter of the Creekers suggesting that they had already conceded, the Falcons kept pushing forward. Kicking with the wind, the Creekers snatched another goal but the Falcons responded with three of their own, sealing a convincing ten-goal win.
A fantastic performance by a glorious playing group, everyone playing their role, keeping their heads and leaving it all out on the park. Bring on the Grand Final!