Storm surges to seventh grand final
STRATHFIELDSAYE Storm has surged into its seventh Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League senior footy grand final.
Storm outplayed Gisborne in last Saturday’s second semi-final at Queen Elizabeth Oval to earn a week’s rest ahead of chasing its fifth premiership victory in 10 years.
An incredible run by Strathfieldsaye includes senior grand final victories in 2014, ’15, ’17 and ’19.
Storm was runner-up in 2013 and ’18.
Although the Bulldogs had beaten Strathfieldsaye in both of this season’s home-and-away matches it was Storm which followed up an impressive qualifying final victory by scoring a two-goal win against Gisborne.
Among the team changes was Callum McCarthy’s return to Storm’s on-ball brigade after being sidelined for the qualifying final against Golden Square because of a head knock.
Number one ruckman Braidon Blake was back on-field for Gisborne.
The Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached Strathfieldsaye scored 4.3 in the opening term as Gisborne’s accuracy of three goals straight kept the deficit at nine points.
Storm led 35-30 at half-time and then charged to a 16-point lead by the final change.
Led by the play of Jack Neylon, Callum McCarty, ruck-rover Jake Moorhead, and the classy Kallen Geary on a wing it was Strathfieldsaye which triumphed 83-71 against a line-up beaten just twice in the run to the finals.
Storm’s attack was led by James Schischka on four goals and captain Lachlan Sharp with three.
Matt Merrett booted three goals for Gisborne as captain Pat McKenna and Matt Weber added two each.
Storm’s work at the stoppages and through the midfield was a highlight as Lachlan Gill and Daniel Clohesy won plenty of the footy.
Just as important was Strathfieldsaye’s intensity when Gisborne had possession.
The Rob Waters-coached Bulldogs were often forced into errors or wide on the big ground.
Key defender Jack Reaper was Gisborne’s best along with Ethan Minns and onballer Brad Bernacki.
Others to play well for the red, white and blue were Macklan Lord, ruckman Braidon Blake and Matt Weber.
In the Harmac reserves, Gisborne broke Golden Square’s winning streak.
After a 41-point loss at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve in round eight, Golden Square had won 10 in a row.
In the second semi-final it was Gisborne which dominated the final term to win 67-53.
Golden Square led 51-42 going into the last quarter but could not stop Gisborne’s frenetic attack as the team in red, white and blue scored 4.1 to just two points.
The Gisborne attack was led by Hayden Doricic on four goals.
A 2008 premiership winner at Hawthorn and former senior coach at Gisborne, Clinton Young kicked three goals as Harry Thomas added two.
Brad Eaton was Golden Square’s only multiple goalkicker on two.
Best for Gisborne were Thomas Fraser, Heath Simpson, Clinton Young, Lachlan Shore, Boyd Nalder and Daniel Davie.
Golden Square’s best were Jack Threlfall, Tanner Rayner, Will Thrum, Drew Barrett, Harrison Burke and Alex Jenkyn.
It will be another grand final appearance for Sandhurst in the SportsPower under-18s competition.
The young Dragons kicked clear in the second half of the second semi-final showdown with Gisborne.
It was a great start by the Bulldogs who led 19-6 at quarter-time, but Sandhurst hit back to win the second term, 21-nil.
Led by the play of Louis Banfield, Wilson Robertson and Luke Salvador, the Dragons fired up to score 4.1 to 1.3 in the second half for a 52-28 victory.
Luke Salvador kicked a match-high three goals as Oliver Morris and Archer Patterson added two and Xavier Austin chipped in with a single.
Gisborne’s goalkickers were James Fox, Harry Luxmoore, Jack Ryan and Sam Wilson.
Best for the Dragons included Xavier Austin, Tobie Travaglia and Oliver Morris.
James Fox, Sam Simpson, Kne Minns, James Gentles, Cameron Freake and Connor Bills played well for the Bulldogs.
Schedule for next Saturday’s preliminary finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
Seniors at 2.50pm: Gisborne v Golden Square.
Reserves at 12.45pm: Golden Square v Sandhurst.
Under-18s at 10.45am: Gisborne v Golden Square.
Written by Nathan Dole.