UHS-VU sinks Prahran’s heart as Krushers command to the Grand Final

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Ben Black

Week 1 of Finals delivered two absolute crackers, Oakleigh charged forward to the Grand Final after taking care of Glen Eira with another Aaron Cloke masterclass, whilst UHS-VU came from behind in a classic at Bundoora against Prahran; provided what’s going to be a big preliminary final next week.

Glen Eira vs Oakleigh

Bright sunshine greeted both teams to an absolute belter at the Trevor Barker Beach Oval between these two powerhouse clubs. A win booked into the Grand Final loser plays next week. One vs Two. The Krushers the inform side out of the two, managing to get over the top of Glen Eira in their last encounter which was last week by an astonishing 96 points.

Aaron Cloke who was and is always wanting to make an early statement in big games and he arose to the occasion kicking the Krushers first major of the first term. The Krushers faithful were up… and so was his team. The Gryphons had their number one target stop Cloke and thought they might catch the Krushers out. Wasted opportunities in front of goal from Glen Eira producing a goalless quarter for the first time in 2023, with Timothy Johnston well held. Cloke had two majors in the first term subsequently being Oakleigh’s first two.

The second term saw Tim Johnston kick his first major early in the second term making a start for Glen Eira to get going, but the Cloke train didn’t finish a classy snap producing his third, whilst Johnston provided Gryphons with another. Joel Chilcott provided the WOW factor with his classy snap off one foot and all of a sudden scores were back dead even at 24 apiece at half time.

The Krushers were on song in the third term. Their defence was able to restrict Glen Eira to three behinds in the term, whilst the twin towers for Oakleigh Luke Ashen and Aaron Cloke provided the third term with plenty of highlights: Cloke storming four majors in the term whilst Ashen chimed in with one. The Gryphons didn’t lose any soldiers though Todd Richardson and Jesse Maxfield provided glimpses to give momentum back to Glen Eira.

Fourth term saw a different start compared to the last three early goals coming the Gryphons way Hayden Bass kicked a much needed major to keep them in the hunt. Pressure came with that goal, but the Krushers were able to have the final say in the final term with Aaron Cloke, Eddie Standish and Tom Gillard with Majors. Cloke finished with eight majors to cap it off, and Oakleigh came away victorious by six goals.

Prahran vs UHS-VU

What a game… Garvey Oval was treated to a classic elimination semi-final. Much like Saturday’s game, the sun was out. A brilliant day for finals football saw a real arm wrestle between these two heavy weights.

Early applied pressure put the Two Blues in a commanding position early with big man Rory Brodie getting the best out of ruck contests giving plenty of headaches for the Vultures midfielders. It was Jesse Waters for the Two Blues who got the Prahran fan club in a frenzy after he slotted his first Major and the Two Blues first to get the perfect start.

Consistent ball ups saw the scoreboard hardly shift through the first term but a monster goal from UHS big man Tom Rocke got his teammates elated. James Gilfillan slotted through a handy major from less than 30 metres to put through UHS second. The first term only had five scoring shots between the two teams.

The second term saw Prahran put the foot down on the Vultures giving them no mercy, with James Muster being sensational for the Two Blues having given them constant clearances and first use. Vultures had no answers to give, which saw the Two Blues take a handy lead, leading 39 to 21.

After half time Vultures were needed for a change to keep their year alive. Patrick Brookes all class from the boundary producing a beauty that set the UHS crowd alight. One brought two and the score to chase wasn’t too far away. Jeff Fox put them just in sight at the verge of 3⁄4 time giving them every chance to snatch the game from the Two Blues.

This is where things changed James McGee all class with an outstretched mark to provide the perfect start for the Vultures, and boy were the crowd up and about. Moments later Patrick Wernert kicked an all-class goal to put them very much in the fight. Tensions were brewing with both teams giving it to each other. The call up of Brandan Jackson, some might say was a masterstroke as he kicked not just one but two key majors that really set the crowds berserk as he put the Vultures in front for the first time since Quarter time.

Time ran out for the Two Blues and Vultures scraping home in a cracker by nine points. UHS next target will be Glen Eira which will be shaping up to be a big preliminary final and one that Vultures will be keen to return to Premier C for 2024.

Heading into the Preliminary Finals, both teams will be eager to secure that final spot at the big dance. For Glen Eira, they will be looking to shake off the loss against Oakleigh and will be hoping Tim Johnston has his goal kicking boots on next week to push for Grand Final Glory and to get back to Premier C. Glen Eira as minor premiers should have plenty of experience up their sleeve to get the better out of the two. For UHS the game will really need to go their way in the midfield to be in with a fighting chance. Brandon Jackson will be lively up forward to try get the best for the Vultures.