REIGNING premiers South Augusta pulled off a shock 48-point victory over minor premiers Solomontown at Port Oval on Saturday, September 9 to move straight to the Spencer Gulf Football League (SGL) Grand Final.
After a year of near perfection, Solomontown have stumbled at the most important time of the season.
The loss to South Augusta means that the Cats will have to take the long road if they hope to make it into the Grand Final by playing in the Preliminary Final against Pirie rivals PropRisdon Lions.
A third quarter blitz from the Bulldogs left everyone in a state of shock, as they booted ten straight goals to put Sollies to the sword.
Both sides came in at full strength, with South slotting livewire players Aziel Stuart and Billy-Joe Russell back into the fold.
The Cats came in favourites to win this game after suffering just one loss this season, but it didn’t faze James Boles’ men, who are now just one game from going back-to-back.
A packed Port Oval was treated to a fast start, as a combined 11 goals were kicked.
Brendon Colson was looking dangerous, popping through the first of the game but, unusually for him, he was hardly in the spotlight.
Clayton Milera extended his purple patch with his gut-running, which created plenty of scoring opportunities and they were being finished off well by the likes of Russell and Vince Urbancic.
Sollies were still responding to the Dogs’ fast start, with crucial goals to keep the margin to two points at quarter time.
The premiership favourites had their big name players Joe Caputo and Corey Davey finding the footy, but this wasn’t the same South side that they had beaten by 77 points last time they played.
Clayton Milera was dominating in the first half, leading from the front to edge South in front heading into the main break. However, Sollies weren’t going to roll over.
And then the avalanche came. The Bulldogs kicked three goals in five minutes to go into half time 12 points in front.
It continued after the break as they piled on a further seven goals to stun the minor premiers.
They had put themselves in an unassailable lead, but were still not going to let up.
The visitors capped off a fantastic game with another three goals in the last quarter to leave Solomontown completely shell-shocked.
Milera kicked four goals in a best on ground performance, while Stuart, Urbancic, Matthew Downey and Gary Warren also performed admirably.
Davey, Nick Redman, Riley Bernhardt, Kaleb Head and Lindsay Bearman stood up for the losing side.
South will either meet the Cats or Lions in the Grand Final in a fortnight and they will certainly get a boost from this victory.
Maybe the Bulldogs have found a chink in the armour of Sollies.