Poowong travelled to Catani on Sunday to play Catani in the elimination final.
Poowong lost Ben Hancock with a hamstring twinge and then lost Jake Cochrane in the first couple of minutes with an ankle injury down to two on the bench. The Magpies were determined to get off to a good start with all players working hard to go forward. Chivaroli had the job of running with Paul Pattinson and Tim Hancock was on Catani forward Owen Fitzpatrick.
An injury to Jaemeel Knecht in the opening minutes didn’t deter the Magpies, who went long early to find Trevor Hooker in prime position to mark and convert the first goal of the match. The second came from a high tackle on Thomas Wyatt, who kicked truly. Catani replied with a goal from a free kick. John Alexander made a long shot that carried over the line to keep the Blues in touch. Magpies midfielder Jack Hazendonk began to push forward with devastating effect, snapping consecutive goals in a matter of minutes to allow the visitor to a 21-point lead at the first change.
Catani came out hard in the second quarter. Catani opened with two points before Poowong goaled with Thomas Wyatt get ting in behind Catani’s defence. Paul Pattinson and Nicholas Visser worked hard for Catani but managed only three points. Poowong took advantage but Jake Hazendonk’s shot across the goal went out of bounds. From a throw in, James Doria picked up the ball and kicked a good running goal. Chris Robinson found Jake Hazendonk, who goaled Poowong’s seventh. Jackson Caddy’s long kick from a pack scored true to bring the margin back to 21 points at the long break and give the Blues some hope.
Poowong’s Chris Robinson was working hard around the ground and the defence limited Catani’s opportunities. Jake Hazendonk, Thomas Wyatt and Chris Doria ran hard, creating opportunities for Poowong’s forwards. The Blues’ inability to convert on their home ground – the second term particularly where a return of 1-6 – saw an opportunity to work back into the contest wasted, was the other telling factor in the result. Blues captain Nathaniel Rodda did his best to marshal his troops as they returned to the field for the second half.
After the half time break, Catani came out hard but the ball spent a lot of time on their forward hank with numerous ball ups from some heavy tackling from both sides. Wade Haysom collected a mark running back towards goal to convert before a long checkside from Caddy found Owen Fitzpatrick in front position to reduce the margin to eight points.. Poowong replied with a point before a strong mark down forward led to Catani’s fifth goal reducing the margin to eight points. Poowong worked the ball forward and from a free kick Chris Doria played on and goaled. Trevor Hooker goaled after Poowong played on from another free kick. Points to Hazendonk and Robinson before a hand ball off the ground by Wyatt to Matt Cozzio resulted in a goal. Catani tried hard to get back into the game but could only manage a point and then a great mark on the line by Poowong avoided a late goal by Catani. The lead at three quarter time was 27 points.
Poowong had one quarter left to complete the dream of advancing deeper into the finals. Coach Mick Hawkens made no changes as the whole team was playing well and contributing around the ground and with Catani requiring at least five goals to get back into the game. Poowong showed it was not going to let Catani back into the game and with Jake Hazendonk and Thomas Wyatt dominating around the packs it attacked hard.
James Doria’s shot for goal fell short, Wyatt then kicked a point before he picked up the ball on the run and kicked Poowong’s 11th. Catani took the ball forward and from a free kick for a high tackle to Paul Pattinson who passed it off Catani goaled followed by a further point. A pass from Wyatt to Jake Hazendonk resulted in a goal. A snap from Wyatt to the square resulted in a free kick to Trevor Hooker and Poowong’s 13th goal. Two late points to Poowong saw it run out winners by 41 points. The final score was 13.12.90 to Catani 6.13.49.
Poowong thoroughly deserved its win and worked very hard as a team. Chris Robinson worked hard all day around the ground and created many opportunities. The defence led by Jayden Sullivan, Alex Doria, Tim Hancock. Michael Harris and Joseph Bisognin did a lot of heavy work in the packs and with Josh Chivaroli limiting Paul Pattinson’s influence all helped to the victory. Jake Hazendonk, Thomas Wyatt and Chris Doria kicked eight goals between them.