Beaumaris have come away with a heart stopping win in extra time against De La Salle in Saturday’s elimination final that saw a final margin of only 5 points. This was always going to be a ding-dong battle and it didn’t disappoint with competition heavyweights Callum Heath, Joel Cusack, Callum Lineham, and Conor Murphy up against the polished all-out attack of De La Salle.
The Sharks, although inaccurate, restricted De La Salle during the first half of play with the game mostly in their control and this was reflected on the score board as the half time margin fell out to 29 points. De La Salle won the third quarter as they kicked four goals to two and wrestled back some of the ascendency in their favour, cutting the margin back to 15 points at the final change.
The final quarter proved to be a classic finals contents with each side having nine scoring shots with the young De La Salle side converting their opportunities into five majors including one nearing the final siren to lock the scores at 84 apiece.
An intense extra time saw willing efforts from both sides, but it was Beaumaris’ Joel Cusack who delivered with a clutch goal a minute into the additional time that not only put the Sharks in front, but ultimately placed them into the Preliminary Final. Remarkably, the match was fought right to the clock with De La Salle’s in possession of the ball as the siren sounded.
For the second year running, Beaumaris will find themselves in a preliminary final, vying to progress up the ranks into Premier and book a spot against St Bernards in the Grand Final. Joal Cusack finished with five goals for the Sharks and was named their best along with their big ruckman Callum Heath. De La Salle’s Trent Shannon showed fight in front of the big sticks with three goals with Lachlan Gawel named their best.
Meanwhile St Bernards booked a spot in this year’s Premier B Grand Final with 39-point win over Fitzroy. The Roys initially led throughout the first quarter as they put up a quick two goals to start the day off well but then it was the Snowdogs who dug deep and kicked five first quarter goals to hold a 23-point lead at the first change.
The second quarter changed complexion slightly with neither team scoring a goal and the contest became more of a scrap heading into half time. The Snowdogs came out guns blazing however in the third quarter with five goals to none and from three quarter time the match was in their full control holding off Fitzroy.
Dominic Sullivan and Luke Di Lizio each finished with three goals while Jordan Farrell relished the finals intensity to be named their best player. Fitzroy finished with five individual goal kickers with Max Ellis showing resilience and dominance around the contest as he was named the Roys best.
With the Snowdogs now into a grand final and aiming to complete the perfect season, only one aspect of their game is holding them back, namely inaccuracy in front of goal. Strange things can happen in September, and it is a game of small margins as we edge towards the end of the season so I dare say that their forwards will be breaking the recommendations of the sports scientists and having as many shots at goal as they can throughout the next two weeks.
How does this week’s preliminary match up? Its set to be a cracking battle with Beaumaris coming into the game with an element of pressure given they lost in straight sets last year. Although different circumstances, these things linger in the back of people’s minds but there is so much on the line. Fitzroy will be hoping to continue the season for Luke Mahoney after he announced he will be stepping down at seasons end.
The Roys also don’t want to be falling out in straight sets and having had a taste last year after losing to Haileybury during week one of the finals, they will be out to right a wrong. There’ll be a buzz around Garvey Oval on Saturday at 2:15pm and whatever happens, a district club will climb the ranks into the VAFA’s topflight.