Jason Bast – @Jason_Bast
The first week of finals is in the books and after some convincing performances we’ve whittled it down to three teams. Despite many predicting close games, there were two massive blowouts in Division 4, one of which was extremely surprising. In Semi Final 2, we had Aquinas and North Brunswick battling it out in the top-of-the-table clash that had The Bloods thumping the Bulls by 102-points. In the knockout final against Manningham and Mt Lilydale the Cobras smashed the Rams by a whopping 113 points.
Aquinas 18.12-120 def North Brunswick AFC 2.6-18
The first quarter wasn’t what fans of either of these teams were used to, a very low-scoring term with only one goal being kicked for the quarter – Aquinas heading into the first break seven points in front. The second quarter stretched the margin out a bit but it was still a close game. Peter Butler kicking the first goal of the game for North Brunswick to almost level the scores. Aquinas booted the next three though putting them up by 18 points before half time. The third quarter started well for the Bulls with Peter Notaro kicking the first of the quarter, unfortunately for North Brunswick that was their last major for the day. Aquinas slammed home seven goals to end the third quarter with a 53-point lead. The Bloods kicked a further seven goals in the final quarter to blow the margin out to a massive 102 points. Gaining themselves a week off, a grand final berth, and a spot in Division 3 next year. Aquinas will certainly go into the grand final as flag favourites after a sensational year and this huge win against the Bulls who had the best winning streak to start the year. Patrick Mahon and Jai Perret were both brilliant up forward finishing that game with five goals apiece. Nick Morrison-Storey had one of his best games of the year to get the best on ground votes. There weren’t too many highlights for the Bulls with Jake George going goalless, the scoring was left to Patrick Notaro and Peter Butler who could only manage one goal each. The Bulls will need to bring a much better game in their matchup against the in form Cobras in the pre-lim final.
Manningham Cobras AFC 21.12-138 def Mt Lilydale OC 3.7-25
Manningham have kept up their hot form after coming off a big win against the ladder-leaders Aquinas in the final game of the season and this week absolutely destroyed Mt Lilydale in the knockout final. It was practically over after the first quarter with Manningham booting seven goals to one to jump out to a 38-point quarter time. A little bit of a closer quarter in the second but not nearly enough to do any damage as the Cobras increased their lead to 56 points. The third term was the big one for Manningham as they came out of the rooms on fire and had 13 scoring shots to 0 for the quarter, piling on another eight goals and stretching the margin beyond 100 points with a quarter to play. The Cobras appeared to put the cue in the rack in the last as they eventually won the game by 113 points. Kane Maghamez was exceptional in front of goal once again, ended the affair with seven majors to his name, Nick Somerville and Michael Muller both kicked three while Ben Tomazic and Chris Jolly finished with two. Much like the Bulls, there weren’t too many high points for the Rams, only Stephen Donald managing multiple goals (2) and their one other goal kicker Adam Thorne rounded out Mt Lilydale’s offensive output. Manningham will now take on North Brunswick next week for a chance to face Aquinas in the grand final. The Cobras will go in with mounds of confidence following their terrific form of late and if they happen to win will fancy their chances to make it a close battle in the season decider.
The preliminary final sees North Brunswick take on Manningham. It’s second versus third in a match that will see the winner faced with the colossal task of taking on Aquinas for the 2017 premiership. Can Kane Maghamez continue his form in front of goal or will goal leader Jake George make it his day out and try to get his team into a rematch against The Bloods? Everything will be decided Sunday at Garvey Oval. Having said that, I’m tipping Manningham to continue their hot streak and knock of the Bulls in a match decided by no more than a few points.