The first match of the finals saw North Brunswick take on Box Hill North in a semifinal with a winner earning their ticket straight to the Grand Final. These two sides had met three times during the regular season and whilst the Bulls had won 2 of the games, the teams faced off in a thrilling draw in round 10. The first quarter saw both sides hit the scoreboard with six scoring shots each. The Bulls, however, were able to capitalise on theirs kicking 4 goals whilst the Demons only managed 2. As the siren sounded to mark the end of the first quarter it was the Bulls that held a slim 10-point lead. The second quarter saw both teams begin to start their attacking way of play. Whilst the Bulls were able to kick 4 goals, the Demons were able to do one better as they kicked 5 goals to reduce the North Brunswick lead down to 8 points as the siren sounded to mark half-time.
The third quarter saw the Bulls begin to make their escape on the Demons as they put together a 4-goal quarter whilst keeping the Demons to only a minor score. This winning quarter from the Bulls saw them bring the game back onto their terms as they took a 33-point lead into the three-quarter time break. With a fast-tracked spot straight to the division’s grand final on the line, the final 30 minutes of play saw both teams lift the intensity and take their games to another level. Whilst the Demons were the more accurate side in the quarter kicking 1.2, the Bulls were too difficult to stop with all their momentum when the final siren sounded an impressive 42-point victory was what the scoreboard displayed as the Bulls march on to the Grand Final in a scary sight for the remaining teams in the division.
Leading the way in the goal kickers for the Bulls were Mitchell Hicks and Spencer Zahra who kicked 3 goals each. Zac Dicianni and James Miralles Lombardo both slotted 2 goals for the Bulls. When it came to the Demons, Jack Dullard led the way with 4 majors, whilst teammate Blake Williams kicked 2. In the best for the Bulls were Mitchell Hicks, Zac Dicianni and Cameron Lee. In the best for the Demons were Thomas Rickard, Ethan Hocking and Jack Dullard. The Bulls have now earned the week off as they go straight through to the Grand Final. The Demons will now face the Falcons in what will be a big clash and a big test. The Demons have held 2 comfortable wins over Albert Park but lost their last meeting in what was a thrilling match.
The second match of the round saw Albert Park take on St Johns in an elimination semifinal. These two teams have met three times across the regular season with the Falcons winning 2 of the matches and St John’s winning 1. The first quarter saw both teams leave nothing on the line with hard-hitting football on show. The Falcons, however, were able to capitalise on their opportunities in front of goal as they took a 4-goal to 2 advantage into the quarter-time break. The second quarter saw the Falcons truly take flight as they dominated the quarter from start to finish adding on 7 goals whilst only allowing 2 goals from the JOCs for the quarter. This mammoth quarter from the Falcons saw them take a 50-point lead into halftime, quickly changing the momentum of the game.
After a high-scoring second quarter, both teams slowed down their play in the third quarter as both sides battled for possession with hard and contested football taking place across the ground. The third quarter only saw 2 total goals for the 30-minute period with both teams managing one goal each. As the siren sounded to signal three-quarter time, it was the Falcons that held a fairly commanding 53-point lead. Although a comeback might’ve been on the cards for the JOCs, a few quick goals from the Falcons would almost instantly squash the chances of a comeback. Both teams came out strong with a point to prove as the fourth quarter was definitely the best quarter for both sides. The JOCs showed strength and determination with a big 5 goal effort in the fourth quarter. The Falcons, however, put up a great effort of their own with 6 final quarter goals, surviving the semifinal with a dominant 61-point victory.
When it came to the goal kickers on the day, no man was more impressive and important than Jack Lee who dominated the day with 7 goals. Ashley Evans and Zak Knight were the other multiple-goal kickers for the Falcons with 2 goals each. For the JOCs, Benjamin Ayache and Kailum Newland both had 3 goals for the game whilst Daniel Cattolico kicked 2. In the best for the Falcons were Drew Pearman, Alexander Evans and Sam Lee. In the best for the JOCs were Corey Ely, Daniel Cattolico and Michael Horton. The Falcons will now face the Demons in what I believe could be the match of the season. The teams have met 4 times in the regular season of 2023 and both teams have 2 wins each. St John’s now has their season come to an end. The team despite losing 3 of their first 4, came home strong with 2 big wins to end the season including a 2-point win over the Demons that secured them their place in September. With a combination of new players and existing club stars, St John’s could be a team to watch in 2024.