PRELIMINARY FINAL – Who will play Tea Tree Gully in the grand final? Sacred Heart Old Collegians go in as slight favourites but Henley are going into the game in red hot form
By Justin Gerschwitz
Semi Final 1 – Henley 14.10-94 defeated Old Ignatians 7.9-51 by 43 points at Henley Memorial Oval Henley overcame an in-form Old Ignatians side to run away 43-point victors and book themselves a preliminary final date with Sacred Heart OC. Following a disappointing one-point loss to Sacred Heart OC in last round’s qualifying final, Henley were desperate to make amends and keep their season alive. Henley set the tone right from the first bounce and were able to build a 13-point lead by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw more of the same, as Old Ignatians struggled to contain a free-flowing Henley outfit with the Sharks kicking home six goals for the quarter to run away to a 43-point half-time lead. Old Ignatians showed more fight in an entertaining second-half but Henley were able to match them and maintain their composure to stave off any chance of a legitimate comeback. James Lean starred for Henley with a crucial four-goal performance while Liam Martin played arguably his best game of the season in a dominant display. Jackson Smith, Harris Jessen and Dylan Simpson also hit the scoreboard for Henley with two goals apiece. For Old Ignatians, Austin Horner showed promise up forward with two goals while Lawrence Comazzetto was the best on a difficult day for the club. Henley now progress to face off against Sacred Heart OC in what should prove to be an enthralling contest to decide who plays Tea Tree Gully in the Division 2 grand final. Semi Final 2 – Tea Tree Gully 17.15-117 defeated Sacred Heart OC 11.9-75 by 42 points at Pertaringa Oval Tea Tree Gully have booked themselves a grand final spot with an impressive 42-point victory over Sacred Heart OC. It was expected to be a tight contest as two in-form teams faced off to vie for a week off and a chance at the all-important Division 2 flag, however, Tea Tree Gully had other ideas. Tea Tree Gully put together one of the most impressive quarters seen in Division 2 this year to run out to a 52-point lead at quarter-time while keeping Sacred Heart OC goalless. Sacred Heart OC showed more fight in the second term to boot home four goals but the game was already largely over with the large deficit proving too much to overcome. Tea Tree Gully went into the half-time break with a 56-point lead and there was no looking back from there despite getting outscored by Sacred Heart OC in the second half. Ryan Spittle was all class with an all-important four-goal haul and Blake Penney was awarded best-on-ground honours in a terrific effort for Tea Tree Gully. Patrick McCarthy and Cameron Rankin kicked three-goals apiece for Sacred Heart OC who will need more efforts like that next week as they seek to make amends in their preliminary final clash against Henley. Preliminary Final Preview – September 26, Saturday, 2:15PM Sacred Heart OC vs Henley at Sacred Heart Middle School Sacred Heart OC had been in remarkable form up until their defeat at the hands of Tea Tree Gully last week. Their performance at Tea Tree Gully will raise questions over their ability to beat the competition’s heavyweights when it matters most, but if their regular season form is anything to go by, those doubts should be laid to rest. Henley will be desperate to make amends and defeat Sacred Heart OC following their one-point defeat in their qualifying final clash. Inaccurate kicking cost them dearly on that day and undoubtedly proved a deciding factor. However, with this clash set to take place on Sacred Heart’s home deck, it will make for an even tougher task. At their peak, Henley have what it takes to defeat Sacred Heart OC but home-ground advantage and an expectation that they will bounce back from last week’s defeat gives Sacred Heart OC the edge in this one.