Midway Metals Preliminary Finals Review –
Narre v. Beaconsfield in Seniors and Under 18s
Last Saturday Narre’s Ones and Under 18s faced cut-throat Preliminary Finals against Beaconsfield up at Healesville’s picturesque ground.
The Seniors rose to the occasion scoring a 4 goal win and will join our Twos in the Big Dance at Pakenham this Friday. Our Under 18s faded in the last half and went down by two goals.
Seniors – Quirky lost the toss and we faced the early challenge of kicking into a stiff 4 to 5 goal breeze in the first term. But we worked hard running in numbers and using the ball well and, though we went into the first break 21 points down, you felt that our 3 goals were worth double that if we could capitalise.
Beacy would be no pushovers, but as Narre got going in the second term Beacy’s resources were stretched defending our constant attacks – and they could only manage one goal for themselves against the breeze. We took a three-point lead into the long break. Our on-ballers, particularly Cody (4 goals) and Scalzo, were prominent and the move of Trent Papworth into the ruck added some aggression at the stoppages (which has often been his opponent’s Achilles heel in past meetings). Tommy Miller and ‘Lizza’ Myatt were getting plenty of the footy and using it well. Lachy Benson’s development as a consistent contributor was also evident again.
In the third term we again had to toil into the breeze which wasn’t abating. But we had blokes with their tails up and we increased our lead to be 14 points up at the last change and coming home with a wet sail. Coxy with 4 goals was brilliant, marking well and running to the right places to continue our scoreboard pressure. Jacko finished them off with two late goals and we came out with a 24 point win.
There were lots of positives that indicated a turn around from our poor performance in the semi against Berwick the previous week. We made the most of our opportunities up forward – 16.5 in the windy conditions was an exceptional return. We had many more four-quarter contributors and several players kicking multiple goals. Sadly we lost Matt Soz in the run – with a hamstring strain that may see him miss next week.
We enter the grand final against an opponent that we know a lot more about than we did a month ago – having already played them twice in the last three weeks. The Premiership is there for the taking but we need to get our match-ups right and play with the endeavour we showed against Beacy.
Reserves – Narre’s Reserves will go into their grand final also against Berwick in what is bound to be a tough and skilful contest. We’ll have a strong side in and will need to bring our best game on the day.
Under 18s – The Under 18s took on Beaconsfield and copped the worst of the playing conditions – the second time in this finals series that we have failed to adapt our game as required for wet weather footy. In the drier first half, we bolted out with some early scoring and held a 3 goal break at half time – Mak Haywood doing a lot of the damage. Dylan Mutimer, Mitch Khawli and Ash Williamson were taking the game on as we resisted a spirited challenge in the third quarter. But Beacy had made up some ground on us and kept us goalless for the quarter.
In a low scoring game it would be the team that could best withstand the finals pressure who would earn a spot in the granny. Then the heavy rain came and Narre’s game inexplicably went to water. Our pressure around the ball fell away and too few were ready to put their bodies on the line. We let our opponent finish full of running with four last quarter goals and a two goal win.
It has been an intriguing contest in the Under 18s between three evenly matched sides – Narre, Beacy and Berwick – all season. There is plenty of great young football talent in all three teams and player availability is always erratic due to Stingrays duties. Well done to our coaching group – Brownie, Grubbo and Matt Downe – on a great season despite the disappointing end. There has been tangible development in many players in the squad as evidenced by their performances when given opportunities in Narre’s Seniors. Great signs for the future.
This week – Narre plays Berwick in both Seniors and Reserves grand finals this Friday afternoon / evening at Pakenham.