Weeroona Bay booked themselves a spot in the 2018 grand final with an emphatic 38-point victory over the more fancied North Whyalla in Saturday’s preliminary final. After dodging a bullet in last week’s first semi the Tigers came into the game with nothing to lose and were rated by many as the rank outsider with little chance of progressing any further but what was to transpire over the next 90 minutes now sees the battlers from Jubilee Park a genuine chance of winning a premiership.
The day started well for the Tigers with stand in captain Dylan Harris winning the toss, giving them first use of a two to three, possibly four, goal breeze favouring the Fisk Street school end of the ground, the heat was as expected on right from the first bounce with the early honours going to the Tigers, they looked sharp and up for the contest. After repeated inside fifty entries with out reward midfielder Steve Hallam who was prominent early broke the line and goaled from 40 metres to the roar of the Tiger faithful.
The Bays’ energy continued to worry their Magpie counterparts but their inability to finish off in front of goal was looking worrying and it wasn’t until the 16 minute mark that their second goal came through Lee Ringland. The Pies looked sluggish but were doing a reasonable job sapping up the early Tiger pressure and against the run of play they were able to muster an all important goal through experienced forward Chad Bourke reducing the Tiger lead to 11 points at the first change.
Within minutes of the restart Bourke booted his second reducing the margin to under a goal, minutes later Tiger half back Steve Jackson charged forward to kick the answering goal and it was game on.
The Magpies had definitely upped the ante after being outplayed and looked to make their charge with back to back goals to full forward Anthony Malcolm giving them the lead for the first time in the game midway through the term.
Stuie Beaton was giving his midfield first look and with Steve Hallam in super touch the Tigers showed some real fight and were rewarded with the next two goal against the breeze to the enigmatic Kade Gale-Jones, the second an absolute beauty from deep in the tuck shop pocket restoring the Tiger lead.
One thing for sure was the Bays were in the game up to their eyeballs and to take a six-point lead into the half time break it was a huge effort after trailing midway through the term.
They say the third quarter is the premiership quarter and with the wind at their back it was now or never for the Tigers and they started the second half on fire, Aaron Rogers was starting to stamp his mark on the game, Steve Hallam continued to find the footy with ease, Gale-Jones had the crowds hearts in their mouths every time he went near the ball but for all their dominance the Magpies were still within striking distance at the last change with the margin being only 18 points and especially with the use of the breeze in the last quarter.
An early Gale-Jones goal his fourth, broke the camels back as the floodgates opened and their was to be no stopping the final-bound Tigers as they charged away to 38 point victory.
Stuie Beaton in the ruck was superb especially when dropping a kick behind play, Rowan Mitchell went head to head with fellow hardnut Josh Trezise and came out on top, Steve Jackson off the half back line kept pushing forward to find himself in dangerous spots, Aaron Rogers was influential with his speed in the second half as was young gun Max Zbierski.
It was a day to forget for the Magpies but Chad Bourke can hold his head up high with a spirited performance in the forward line, Josh Ackland had his fair share of the footy without being outstanding, Mils Aumau battled away as did Tim Brown.