The Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power recorded strong victories in Saturday’s NAB League Boys Semi Finals and will now join their qualifying-final conquerors the Eastern Ranges and Oakleigh Chargers in this weekend’s preliminary finals.
* CLICK HERE to see full match results, goalkickers and best players from the NAB League Boys Semi Finals.
1st Semi Final
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 8.7 (55) d CALDER CANNONS 1.12 (18)
After holding the Cannons to a score of just 1.12 (18) during a 109-point win in Round 1, the Dragons (11-7 overall record) repeated the pain for Calder (11-7) at Ikon Park on Saturday in a triumph that set up a preliminary final against the Oakleigh Chargers. On that day back in March, Sandringham set up victory with five unanswered goals in the first quarter. This time, it was four consecutive opening-term majors that blew the Cannons away, with top-age speedster Hugo Ralphsmith stamping his authority on the match in booting three of those. By the time Calder scored its only goal of the game deep into the third stanza, the Dragons had seven on the board to show they had rebounded strongly from last week’s qualifying-final loss to the Eastern Ranges.
Ralphsmith also recorded 19 disposals and eight marks to be one of the most damaging players on the ground, with ball-winning Sandringham trio Finn Maginness (equal-game-high 32 disposals, nine clearances and one goal), Angus Hanrahan (32, 11 marks and one goal) and skipper Ryan Byrnes (32 and 10 inside-50s) also in that category. Louis Butler (25 and five rebound-50s) and Harry Loughnan (21 and six rebound-50s) regularly provided the Dragons with drive from defence, while the 200cm Andrew Courtney (25 hitouts) stood tall in the ruck.
📝: “A number of boys stepped up and played probably close to their best games of the year so that was really pleasing”
A blockbuster prelim with Oakleigh awaits after we took down the Cannons yesterday in the #NABLeague Semi-Final 🐉
— Sandringham Dragons (@Sandy_Dragons) September 8, 2019
The Cannons proved competitive in the contest but struggled to control time in possession, with only Sam Ramsay (32 disposals, six clearances and six rebound-50s) and Daniel Mott (23, nine clearances and five inside-50s) registering more than 17 touches. Harrison Minton-Connell (17 disposals and six clearances) and Joshua Hotchkin (23 hitouts) had an impact at stoppages and Giacomo Thomas (12 disposals, six marks and five rebound-50s) played a role in defence, but Calder’s finals run from fifth position was comprehensively brought to a halt.
2nd Semi Final
GIPPSLAND POWER 11.9 (75) d WESTERN JETS 6.4 (40)
It took Gippsland (12-5 overall record) a while to hit top gear at Ikon Park on Saturday, but the Power eventually surged into a preliminary final against the Eastern Ranges with a steady run of goals that eliminated Western (10-8) from the premiership race. The Jets kicked two majors in the game’s first seven minutes but were unable to score another for the best part of three quarters, as Gippsland piled on eight straight goals from that point until early in the final term to effectively kill off the contest. The Power has now won six of eight matches since falling to Western in Round 10 and this victory was a good response to a tight and tense defeat at the hands of the Oakleigh Chargers in a qualifying final last week.
Gippsland was particularly strong in defence against the Jets, with Harrison Pepper (25 disposals and seven rebound-50s), Mitch Bentvelzen (four rebound-50s) and Tye Hourigan (three) all playing important roles in sending the Power forward from the back half. Caleb Serong (game-high 27 disposals, seven clearances and one goal), match-day captain Riley Baldi (23 and six inside-50s) and Sam Flanders (18, seven tackles and one goal) provided the grunt work in contests, while Harvey Neocleous (19 and three goals) and Ryan Sparkes (19 and two goals) converted that work inside 50.
Daly Andrews was Western’s most prolific player with 26 touches, five inside-50s and two majors as fellow over-ager William Kennedy recorded 35 hitouts in his battle against a trio of Gippsland rucks. Lucas Failli (19 disposals and seven clearances), Billy Cootee (19 and four clearances) and Jonah Horo (13, nine tackles and four clearances) also worked hard at stoppages and skipper Lucas Rocci (18 and six rebound-50s) continued his strong Morrish Medal-winning 2019 campaign, but it wasn’t enough to see their team advance to the season’s penultimate weekend.
Saturday September 14 @ Ikon Park
Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham Dragons from 11am
Eastern Ranges vs Gippsland Power from 1.30pm