When Claire Schupelius takes on the role as a prominent playmaker for Railways it is a big percentage of a winning formula for the team. This preliminary final was an important eliminating contest against Vikings and Schupelius came prepared to make an impression and along with Jaedina-Rose Venning had blasted a 14-7 first quarter lead for Railways. Railways supporters were in awe of the fantastic start.
Vikings coaching team quickly assessed its situation and as it has all season confidently made positional changes. There was a gasp of disbelief when Tiana Freeman was spelled. The other change was Phoebe Hunter and Casey Lukich who swapped the wing attack position and centre positions. The early switches in the game made a slight difference. Vikings reduced its deficit by one goal.
Railways defenders Peyton Fuller and Lily Fullerton were pouring the pressure in the goal circle on Vikings goalies Brittany Pascoe and Lara Etchells. The two goalies did well to combat the tall lively moving Railways defenders. In the midcourt Brynn Byron-Boles was also having a superb interception game for Railways. Everywhere the ball was flying Brynn was in the action to claim possession. Railways were looking good. At half time Railways held a 25-19 lead.
There was still a second half to play and the 6 goal lead was an achievable deficit for Vikings to reverse the outcome. Much to the relief of Vikings supporters Freeman was back into the goal shooting position and versatile Lara Etchells took the centre position. Both players etched their class to perform for the big game. The other player who gave a solid non-stop effort was Erin Egels who opened up passing avenues through the midcourt. Bang. Vikings stung Railways at three quarter time 33-33.
The stadium was at fever pitch. Both teams were in determination mode. Under pressure at crucial stages of winning opportunities the teams faltered to succeed to secure the win. It was the reason the final score locked at 45-45. The stadium went into excitement mode. An extra two 7 minute quarters had to be played. Railways sprung an early 4-3 lead and in the second quarter it was an even 5-5 result which determined Railways as the winner by one goal 54-53. What a game and the players were given an ovation in appreciation for the top class game.
Railways will face off against St Josephs this week in the club's 20th consecutive A Grade Grand Final.
The record is an amazing feet considering half of the current team was yet to be born at the time of the club's first run of grand final appearance's in 1999.
Who will take the win? It's anyone's game.
Quorn continued its stunning form from last week and against St Joseph it demonstrated its determination for a second chance to blast into the grand final. The first quarter looked encouraging for 'Joes'. The one arm shooting style of Tara Hogg was the most notable aspect of the 10 goals shots by her and Annie Packard.
The stumbling block for the duo to continue to make an ongoing impression was Quorn's goal keeper Kandeana Steele. Her wonderful ability to spring high to rebound missed shots and to cover any incoming goal circle passes was impressive. Packard had to work hard to gain possessions. Quorn counterpart goal defender Claire Mckenry was the backup and path to flow the ball to Meggan Finlay and Angie Finlay.
Quorn's first quarter lead 15-10 gave 'Joes' a pinch of optimism but it all crashed in the second quarter. How was 'Joes' going to respond to a Quorn 17-8 blitz taking the half time lead to 32-18? Scoring goals was one idea. Another idea was to refresh the midcourt. As much as 'Joes' goal defenders Tara Nayda and Courtney Hannigan tried to succumb Quorn scorers Chelsea Fraser and Tayla Finlay there were no second chances on rebounds nor was there a clear pathway for passes out of the circle. 'Joes' midcourt got crowded on one side of the court. It was turnover glory for Quorn.
Quorn goalies were amazing under pressure. They fought for front position for passes and focused on accuracy for goals. St Josephs did make changes and brought Maia Scharenberg into the goal defence line. It made a difference. The combination of Brooke Groth, Scharenberg , Nayda and Charlotte Hill sparked the midcourt. The comeback trail looked to be on the cards but again the Quorn resilience surfaced.
At three quarter time Quorn led 47-30. It was a mammoth task for any change of leadership. Quorn had the perfect team game. 'Joes' did outscore the last quarter 16-11 however it was the magnificent Quorn team who deservedly twirl into the grand final to challenge Vikings.
Shamrocks and Viking Blue did not disappoint the arena of spectators with excitement. Shamrock Club icons Shirley O'Rielly, Joy Heneker and Nancy Palmer were applauding from the stands. Up until half time neither team would relent to the other 28-27. Shamrocks built on its one goal lead to a third quarter 43-38 lead.
It was amazing to see Mandy Chapman accurately shooting left handed because her right hand was injured. The mid-range shooting was undertaken superbly by Tannika Warren. On the edge of a Shamrock boil-over Vikings Blue brought Letarnya Khan back into the goal shooting position and Gemma Broadwood into the goal keeping position for the fourth quarter.
The change enthused Vikings. Khan and Tamika Reid found space in the goal circle and found a new confidence to challenge the Shamrocks defending abilities of Carmen Skinn and Caitlyn McInnes. There was not much the defenders could do when Khan and Reid hit an accuracy spree. The game eventuated to a goal for goal game until the final siren.
Shamrocks glorious bubble burst. Vikings Blue bombarded the last quarter 16-10 to win by one goal 54-53. It was a magnificent game. Vikings Blue is into the grand final.
St Josephs needed the perfect game to defeat the highly rated Railways team. It got off to a good 8-6 start and maintained the 2 goal lead at half time 16-14. 'Joes' 7 players remained in their given positions all game but Railways with 9 players made a few strategic moves in the attempt to unravel 'Joes' confidence. Joes confidence did not waver however the challenging burst of fast and slick passing tactics around Railways goal circle from sharp scorer Teraleyha Coulthard tested 'Joes' defending skills.
At the other end of the court Railways defenders Shaniqwa Stuart and Sophie Glamunzina put 'Joes' goalies Zali O'Dea and Charlotte Hill on notice with their interception and rebounding prowess. Scores were locked 20-20 at three quarter time.
When it counted most 'Joes' defenders Maia Scharenberg, Mia Smith and Lauren Howell upped the stakes in control of two thirds of the court and surged 'Joes' forward in attack. There was heart stopping moments when it looked like Railways broke through 'Joes' defence only to falter at crucial scoring opportunities. St Josephs flourished under pressure 26-22 to earn its grand final berth.
It was the second half of the game that St Josephs Blue got its competitive edge in order against Magpies. With the nerves gone goalies Alyssa Williams and Jada Grosser rewarded the hard work of Lilah Hill, Jorja Edwards, Peyton Nance and Zara Heritage for winning possessions in the midcourt. Extra support towards the win came from goal defenders Nicole Edwards and Mischa Cooper who settled in Magpies goal circle winning turnovers over Magpies goalies Sophie Warren and Claire R Martin. It was an overpowering 32-18 winning performance from 'Joes'. It's all go now for the grand final.
Toss the coin as to which team was going to win between Vikings and Shamrocks. At half time it looked like Vikings 11-7 were well on its way to a win but as with all finals a surprise staggers the opposition. Shamrocks combined Destiny Freer and Ashlee Boyle into its goal circle and the scoring table turned 14-13 in its favour. The one goal lead was maintained to the end 20-19. Jubilant Shamrocks march to the grand final.
Railways were on fire from the start of the game 10-1 against Vikings. To resurrect its competitive edge Vikings shuffled players around and it worked. The game got within reach for Vikings 17-21. It was a remarkable fight back. Railways kept the best for last. Kyra Mahomed and Taeylah Coulthard responded to the great passes from Ebanee Brame and Annalise Reid to net more goals to take the final score to 32-22. Railways are into the grand final.
It was a nail biting affair between Railways and Quorn. The best quarters from Railways came in the second and third quarters. Goalies Indie Buckley and Shayleigh Cooper found that by moving in front of Quorn defenders Indie Williams and Ella Maison provided them with more opportunities to score goals. It was those goals that carried Railways to victory. Well done to the Quorn coaching team in affording all the players a chance to experience playing in a final. Railways advance forward 20-16 to the grand final.
Don't you just love it when the ability of players equal each other. Railways and Vikings had the game locked at three quarter time 8-8. Every goal Emma Coates and Eva'Rose Coulthard shot was precious for Railways and for Vikings Alexia Clarke and Danelle Cullen sparkled with every goal they scored to keep up with its competitors. When the final whistle blew Railways had the win 13-12 and a grand final berth.
Vikings are a well drilled team who excelled in the scoring department in the second and third quarters. Sienna Boxall and Bridie Lukich broke free from 'Joes' defenders to get close to the goal ring. With a 28-20 lead Vikings were going to be hard to catch especially when 'Joes' only had six players. The efforts from Chloe Nance and Kaliyah Warren to change positions from defender to goalie gave hope but all that could be done was to match Vikings efforts. Great effort St Josephs. Congratulations Vikings 35-26 and a grand final berth.
Another great close game came from Magpies and Shamrocks Green. Again it was a game locked at three quarter time 17-17. Strategic last quarter changes from Magpies brought excitement to the contest. Swapping Kyeishah Wilton from defender to goal attack to combine with Charli Thomas worked a treat. Willow Williams and Neiv Havelberg worked well around the goal circle to pass the ball into their goalies. Shamrocks Green did well with 6 players. Sylvera Brady played wing attack and was swapped into the wing defence position to assist goal defenders Tae Koerner and Alicia Jameson to curb Magpies scoring power. It nearly worked. Magpies hung on to win the game 24-20 and are in the grand final.
Magpies-Rebels looked settled from the start of the game against St Josephs Gold in particular with the confidence of its goalies Keeleigh Tweedy and Taya Hamilton. It was tough scoring goals. Magpies did it well. The midcourt contests were commendable. You could see the fun the girls had chasing the ball and getting caught up in the excitement of the game. When the game finished it was heard by a 'Joes' player to ask "who won"? Just goes to show that the score board was not a focus. Magpies- Rebels did win 12-7. Good luck in the grand final.
Shamrocks tried hard in the second half of its game to catch Quorn who had jumped to an 8-2 lead at three quarter time. Ebonie Werth, Shelby Finlay, Lily-Mae Butler, Hayley McCarthy and Aurelia Reynolds all played a defending role to earn many possessions in the midcourt and the goal third. Georgia Shannon combined well with goalies Maddison Foster and Nicole Evans to ensure safe passes got to the goalies close to the goal ring.
Although Shamrocks did not get to match the Quorn goal scoring its six players can be proud of its stamina to keep up with the 8 player Quorn team who won 14-4. Good luck in the grand final Quorn.