Goannas 93 def Hawks 55
Q1 3.1 v 1.4
Q2 6.3 v 3.9
Q3 10.7 v 4.11
Q4 14.9 v 7.13
by Ronnie Mitchell
The Goannas ventured out to the green country side of Saitama prefecture for a big day of Sunday football which featured a JAFL double header. The Goannas played the later game after the Powers and Magpies played an excellent curtain raiser.
A strong contingent of Goannas turned up for the final home and away game of the JAFL 2009 season and the scene was set for a classic as the Goannas faced up to ladder leaders (on %), the Eastern Hawks, a team of fit, strong, veteran Japanese ex-Uni boys. The game started at a frenetic pace with both sides throwing their bodies on the line as the minor premiership was up for grabs. Peyton down back was brilliant in the first qtr and he, along with Ogilvy and Utting continually repelled Hawk forward thrusts. Pearce and McGee continued on from their fine `International Cup` form with sensational performances around the stoppages and Pengilly up forward finished off their good work with 2 first qtr goals. It was the Goannas by 9 points at Qtr time.
The second Qtr was very even with Huberts and White doing stella jobs in the ruck department ensuring the likes of McGrath had plenty of the ball leading to a long range goal from outside 50m. Cole and Ogilvy had strong quarters with some good clearance kicking and tackling in the back half. Sullivan led strongly playing up the ground but was constantly double teamed in marking contests reducing his effectiveness. Lee showed some dash on the wing when coming off the pine and Liddell put his body on the line and took a huge hit which left him bloodied and on the sidelines. The Hawks had plenty of opportunities up forward but missed some easy chances which allowed the Goannas to take a 12 point lead into the long break.
The Goannas needed to dig deep in the premiership quarter if they were to win this game and dig deep they did piling on four goals to one in a dominant display. Mitchell marked and goaled after a superb pass from McGee and when Sullivan found some space he started taking some excellent pack marks and finished off with a long range goal. Utting was again an outstanding performer in defence and Ritchie took some nice marks around the center to maintain the Goanna advantage. Peace and McGee had brilliant games and added to the goal tally during the third quarter, running with dash and delivering quality ball into the forwards. Eyes contributed with a brilliant hand ball setting up Sullivan for a goal in the dying stages of the quarter. Goannas by 32 points at three quarter time.
The Hawks piled on the first 3 goals of the last quarter to get to within 10 points of the Goannas and the pressure was on. However when Pearce goaled after being set up by a superb mark of the year hanger by McGee the Goannas were keen to press home the advantage of a slight breeze. The Goannas played some inspiring team football to close out the game with linking handball and long kicking giving the forwards every opportunity. Bayne (a true veteran) was straight into the action when subbed and helped set up a goal via Pearce to Mitchell. Sullivan also finished off well and if it weren’t for the wobbles he could have kicked a bag. Well done to Atkins who came out and supported the team in spite of some bruised ribs which forced him to take no part in the game. The Goannas ended up running out convincing winners in the end to the tune of 38 points which rewards them with the minor premiership after the 2009 JAFL home and away series.
The Goannas will now face the Senshuu Powers in the semi final on Nov 8 before hopefully defending their 2008 premiership, at the YCAC ground in Yokohama on Nov 22, in the grand final played against either the Eastern Hawks or Nagoya Redbacks.
Special thanks to Appsy and the `girls` for their various game day contributions.