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Thriller sees Thirds into preliminary final

15-Aug-2018

Last minute goals to Will Symons, Harry Jorgensen and the presence of mind of Ben McDonald to run the ball over the Fitzroy goal line for a point, saw Fitzroy turn a 12-point deficit into a one-point win all in the final minutes of play at Ramsden Street Oval in Semi Final 1 against Old Trinity on Saturday.

It was enough to send the crowd, who had been debating the extra time rules, into a frenzy and Coach Trent Coleman was barely able to speak for some time after the game.

The unlucky Old Trinity side made the cardinal sin of kicking badly for much of the day, going into the long break behind 4.5.29 to 2.10.22, having had many more scoring shots, including some that sailed wide. Their first two goals came only after they’d scored 10 points.

This was a game played in fits and starts with many of the goals being scored against the run of play and in bursts.

Trinity’s early tactics to lock down and turn the game into a ground level scrap and stop Fitzroy’s run, was very effective. They dropped a man back in defence and made sure to stick close to the in-form captain and goal kicker Tim de Natris, but equally they came up against a formidable back six for Fitzroy and also failed to take advantage of their repeated forward forays.

Two excellent late goals in the second quarter, both from out wide on the boundary and the second to the skipper after the half time siren, gave Fitzroy a seven-point buffer at half time.

The third quarter was a tough affair and Fitzroy edged out to a 10-point lead, scoring the only goal of the quarter with Old Trinity growing increasingly frustrated by their goal kicking, adding a further three points to their tally. From a momentum perspective, in the last part of the third quarter, the play seemed to open up a little and it felt like it was with the home side. The visitors had other ideas.

The final quarter had to be seen to be believed. Having been wayward all day, Old Trinity straightened up, ran the ball in closer to goal, and quickly piled on three early goals. Having scored two goals to three quarter time, they suddenly had five.

Fitzroy then wrestled back some possession and drive into attack, but had caught the goal kicking yips as the teams reversed roles, missing three of its own gettable shots.

In a game where there were no easy possessions, Trinity got out to a handy – and what appeared as though it might be a match-winning – lead when a controversial deliberate out of bounds free was paid in the forward pocket and Old Trinity kicked truly from the boundary line to score its sixth goal.

With minutes to play the Fitzroy faithful were feeling the game had slipped away, but the team on the field wasn’t about to dip out in semi final one for the second year in a row.

A terrific running goal from Will Symons turned the tide, followed by a snap off the ground by Harry Jorgensen with just seconds to play.

Having secured the all-important possession out of the middle, the Fitzroy players all pushed forward and Ben McDonald had the presence of mind to run the ball over the line for a point just ahead of the siren.

Adam Taib was the best on the ground for Fitzroy, repeatedly repelling Old Trinity’s attacks into Fitzroy’s forward 50. Given the job on one of the competition’s leading goal kickers, David Cowley, Taib kept him to just one goal, whilst also creating plenty of momentum out of the backline.

Rhys Dolby created plenty of run and attack through the middle of the ground, Jorgensen, Symons and Hugh Morris-Dalton, in his 5oth game, were all strong, and Nathan Grimshaw again stood tall.

To some extent the shock of the weekend was the loss of minor premier De La Salle to Beaumaris, for the first spot in the grand final. It was the second loss to Beaumaris in three weeks for the previously undefeated side.

De La will now present a significant challenge for Fitzroy in the preliminary final, which will be played at Waverley Oval in Malvern East on Saturday morning at 9.20am.

 


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