BY – JACKSON CLARK
TWITTER – @JClark182
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/ntfootball
Wanderers are into the premiership decider after a 42-point win over Waratah in Saturday’s preliminary final at TIO Stadium. The Eagles overcame a shaky start to eventually burn off the Warriors 11.11 (77) to 4.11 (35).
The match was played with typical finals intensity and the opening term started at a frenetic pace. The Warriors’ watertight defence was sensational early in the piece at not only halting Wanderers’ forward entries but propelling the ball back into attack. Justin Beugelaar and Daniel Stanley in particular won plenty of vital contests and kicked the ball to the advantage of their more attacking teammates. At quarter time it was one goal to nil in favour of the Warriors and it was clear that this match was never going to be a shoot-out.
The second quarter was played on Wanderers’ terms after a couple of early goals gave them the lead. Former AFL player Nathan Djerrkura tore Waratah to shreds picking up possessions at will, breaking away from the contests and finishing well by either hand or foot. There was cause for controversy midway through the term when Jake Farrell kicked what most in the crowd believed to be a goal. After a minute of discussion the umpires’ determined that the kicked shaved the goal post and paid a behind. This came at a crucial stage for Waratah and a goal here against the momentum could have brought them back into the game.
Waratah emerged from the half time break looking fresh and fired up but failed to convert its forward chances into goals. It is absolutely essential for sides to make the most of its chances in front of goal during finals games and the Warriors were unable to do this in the third. Perhaps even more frustrating was the relative ease Wanderers were allowed to score up the other end. Coach Brenton Toy delivered a fired up three quarter time speech to his charges in the hope of igniting some passion in the last quarter.
But any chance of an unlikely comeback was put to bed early on with a couple of early Wanderers goals. Marlon and Aaron Motlop combined beautifully on a number of occasions and were able to do damage on the scoreboard. Liam Patrick continued his good form with four goals while Sam Arthur chipped in with three.
Wanderers will face St Marys next week in what is the eighth time these two sides have met in a grand final since 1982.