PRELIMINARY FINAL RESULT
Ellinbank booked their spot in the big dance on Saturday with a seven-point win over Neerim Neerim South at Nilma Darnum.
Whilst relatively evenly-match, many had favoured Neerim to claim victory.
“I like being the underdog as much as we all do,” said Ellinbank coach Ben Wragg.
“It gave us more endeavour to win the game,” he said.
It was a quiet start for the Eagles, with Jordyn Flannery kicking the opening goal, and the only one for the quarter.
Neerim Neerim South followed suit several minutes later.
But the quarter – and indeed the game – was marred by a hit on Callum Shiels just minutes before the end of the quarter.
Ellinbank’s Adam Cook received a yellow card and later spent 15 minutes on the bench.
Play was stopped for more than half an hour while trainers and paramedic rendered assistance.
Cook was reported and fronted the tribunal Tuesday tonight. He was handed a two-week suspension and will miss the Grand Final against Longwarry.
At the resumption of play, Neerim kicked a behind and then a goal to end the quarter. Neerim held the lead by eight points heading into the second term.
That deficit became 13 points at half time, after three additional Neerim goals and two Eagles majors.
At the start of the third, it looked as if a Neerim victory was inevitable. The Cats led 4122 in the opening minutes, but Ellinbank had other ideas.
Two quick majors before three-quarter-time saw the Eagles regain some of their lost ground, and by the end of the term they were just one point behind the Cats.
An Ellinbank goal in the first 90 seconds saw the Eagles hit the front for the first time for the day.
Another Ellinbank goal at the five-minute mark saw the lead open up to 54-44, despite the wind favouring Neerim.
“We were actually playing better footy into the wind,” said Wragg. “We were playing competitive footy.” The Cats fought back however and booted a major with seven minutes on the clock.
But the Eagles quickly responded – twice. A Cats major just before the siren saw the Cats finish the day on 8.12-60.
But it was the Eagles who ended the day with a ticket to the grand final with a scoreline of 10.7-67.
Mark Vassett was best on ground for the Eagles. He was backed up by Sean Phelan, Michael Urie, Ben Wragg, Francis D’Agostino and Jake Harper.
The Cats’ best man on the day was Jack Ward with Nathan Bayne, Mark Quigley, Dean Stringer, Christopher Urie and Tyssen Morrow also making important contributions.
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Match review written by Will Watson reporting for Warragul & Drouin Gazette. To view original article in full online subscribe to WDG here.
Article image published by Warragul & Drouin Gazette.