Goannas 95 def Powers 65
Q1 4.4 v 2.2
Q2 7.8 v 5.6
Q3 12.10 v 7.8
Q4 14.11 v 9.11
by Ronnie Mitchell
After taking out the minor premiership by defeating the Eastern Hawks 2 weeks earlier the Goannas took on the Senshuu Powers (1stvs 4th) in the 2009 JAFL 2ndSemi Final after watching the Hawks beat the Nagoya Redbacks (2ndvs 3rd) by 13 pts in the 1stSemi. The game was played at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club (YCAC) and under lights – a first for the Goannas. A big crowd gathered and the Goannas fielded a strong squad of 19 players and a fine line up of supporters.
In a frenetic opening quarter when all players were trying to come to terms with the new conditions, under lights and playing with a slippery yellow sherrin the Goannas got the first 2 majors with Sullivan playing well up forward. However the Powers, through sheer run and numbers around the disputed ball pegged the goals back in no time. Peyton and Utting down back played well to counter many forward thrusts and McGrath and Pearce did well at the stoppages. Huberts was back to his best in the ruck and relished the firm, even ground and gave the Goannas the advantage in the center. After a very even first quarter, McGee showed some dash to break away, mark and then goal inside 30m and when Mitchell scored a major with a plucky left foot snap the Goannas went in with a 2 goal advantage but clearly had some work to do.
The second quarter was very similar to the first and an arm wrestle ensued. The Powers were switched on and broke away with 2 early goals to tie up the game. Huddleston, in only his second game for the year, was instrumental and had immediate impact down back where he marshaled those around him and took some excellent defensive marks. Ogilvy also contested hard and provided some excellent tackles in the back half as Utting continued his dominant form which is sure to attract votes. White did well contesting the ruck when subbed and Hill was looking flighty up forward and narrowly missed a snap over the shoulder. It was Sullivan who marked strongly all day which kept the Goannas score line ticking over with brilliant delivery from Pearce in the center. Atkins and Ritchie provided important contributions on the wings and some bone jarring hits on the opposition. A steam rolling Edmonds was used to good effect when subbed and his bull dozing dash over 30m is the stuff of legend at Lizard Land. The Goannas again by 2 goals at the long break and the Powers went to the huddle with loads of confidence. The game was on the line and the Goannas needed to dig deep in the second half.
As with other tough games recently, the Goannas came out and dominated the third quarter scoring 5 goals to 2 in a match winning display. Superbly led by the defence, on-ball brigade and with cameo efforts by Liddell who kicked a brilliant goal after competing with an opponent and breaking free to snap from 15m. Berenholtz was creative when playing forward and contested well in the packs. Cole, playing on a wing, also provided some much needed run and aggression around the contested ball. The Goannas were going in hard and Huberts continued to dominate and delivered a bone jarring hip and shoulder which sent a Powers player to the astro turf. Woods was playing well down back and his long ranging clearance kicking helped set up Goannas goals. McGrath finished an excellent quarter with a nice 40m goal from the boundary and the Goannas had opened up a 5 goal lead at the last change.
The last quarter was fairly even with 2 goals a piece as both teams tired. It didn’t stop the desperation of the Goannas who still went in hard and left their opponents thinking twice. McGrath came off with a split chin in a heavy head clash and played no further part in the game. Pearce capped off another excellent performance with a bursting long range goal on the run which had the Goannas supporters cheering. Bayne played well up forward and was in the thick of it with a heavy tackle laid as soon as he entered the arena. Huddleston finished off a fine return to the Goannas line up with a match winning effort down back. It was the Goannas by an even 5 goals at the final siren which now puts them up against the Eastern Hawks in the 2009 JAFL Grand Final to be played at the YCAC on Nov 22. This is shaping as THE game of the year.
Thanks as always to the Goannas supporters, all the girls who helped out and Appsy – that most famous of distinguished lizards…..