On-fire Yeppoon earns place in fifth straight decider
AFL: In the AFLC Frenchville Sports Club premiership everyone was asking whether anyone could challenge the might of the Yeppoon Swans as they started their finals campaign, chasing their fourth consecutive premiership.
With five teams competing on Saturday they had three of four progress, with the under-15s, under-17s and reserves booking grand final spots before the senior match had started.
The BITS Saints were too strong for the under-13 Swans who will now need to progress through the preliminary final weekend if they are to join the other teams on grand final day.
Yeppoon coach Mark Wallin knew the Bulls would be a much tougher opponent come finals time and was not complacent in his preparation of his team leading into the match.
"The boys trained really hard for this, they have worked very hard. You don't just get given these things,” Wallin said.
"Glenmore have been hard against us before, the game down here in the wet was really hard, and the game at Boyne definitely gave us a scare but we found a way to win that one and that's probably what this team does well.”
In blustery conditions there appeared to be a wind advantage kicking to the western end but neither team seemed to be able to use this advantage.
The hard contest that they prepared for with the Bulls was exactly what they got, with the ball hotly contested through the middle of the ground for most of the opening term and both teams registering only one goal each midway through the first term.
A goal each late in the quarter had the Bulls take a narrow two-point lead into the first break.
With the wind behind them in the second term the Swans could have broken the game open early, but the Bulls were not taking a backward step and the Swans led by only three points at the main break.
Both sides had contributors all over the ground without anybody being standouts.
Brad Richards popped up at crucial times for the Swans, while Tyson Payne was providing great run through the centre of the ground for the Bulls.
The third term, the "premiership quarter, Yeppoon showed why it was the red-hot favourite as they upped the ante.
Jake King accelerated out of contests to create time and space to give his forwards more opportunities, and Matt Wallin and Nathan Milburn controlled the troops across half back to limit the Bulls' opportunities as the Swans opened up a four-goal lead at the last break.
When Tim Higgins goaled early in the last there was a glimmer of hope for the Bulls.
Higgins bobbed up with the footy shortly after but missed from close range and when the Swans rebounded and King converted at the other end, any chance of a comeback seemed to slip away.
The Bulls pushed all the way to the final siren with Jacob Redsell continuing to apply pressure and rebound for the Bulls.
However, the four-goals-to- zero third term was what cost the Bulls as the Swans finished the last quarter kicking three goals to two.
Whether that was the tight contest Yeppoon needed or whether it gives the opposition teams more belief the Swans are beatable will be shown on grand final day when the Swans will play their fifth consecutive grand final.
The win made it four wins from five for the Swans.
The Bulls will now do battle with the Boyne Saints next weekend at Stenlake Park to give themselves another opportunity to end the Swans undefeated run.
- Men's semi-final: Yeppoon 2.0, 3.5, 7.5, 10.11 (71) d Glenmore 2.2, 3.2, 3.5, 5.6 (36)
- Women's semi-final: Panthers 0.0, 1.4, 2.4, 3.5 (23) d Glenmore 1.4, 1.4, 2.6, 2.8 (20)