Lindenow has won the opportunity to vie for its fourth East Gippsland Football Netball League senior premiership.
The Cats will take on Boisdale Briagolong this Saturday at City Oval after surging away from Wy Yung in a wildly windy, physical preliminary final.
Lindenow won the low-scoring battle by 35 points, keeping the Tigers to just two second quarter goals – both free kicks to Brodie Anderson – before sealing victory with three final term majors – the only goals kicked into the wind for the afternoon.
It was still game on deep into the third quarter. Wy Yung trailed by just eight points when an attempt to rush a behind allowed Mick Preston to kick an opportunistic goal.
The Cats’ lead was 15 at the final break, Wy Yung needed the first goal of the final term to remain a chance, however the all-important major went to Rohan Blandford, who delivered on the end of a chain of handballs at the sixminute mark.
Preston would add another after a one-one-one mark where he edged his opponent under the ball, before Darren Allen scored from an advantage free kick on the stroke of time on.
While conditions didn’t allow for a skillful affair, the Cats took an early lead with a slight wind advantage, the fierce gusts directed at the gate pocket.
The Tigers were able to reduce the deficit to two at the half and an early third quarter behind put them within one, however that is as close as they would get.
Lindenow absorbed the Wy Yung pressure and capitalised when it counted.
The Cats will carry some sore bodies into the grand final, namely ruckman, Angus Fortune, who was carrying an elbow injury from midway through the third quarter, despite a superb four-quarter effort.
Wy Yung was strong in the contest and at times tempers flared, however it lacked the polish at the end.
Neither side was able to use the wind perfectly, unable to take the ball to the down the clubrooms wing and attack effectively. The ball was stuck on the museum side for practically the entire game, where stoppages and boundary throw ins ensued.
League best and fairest, Luke Dyer, who was well held in the semi final, kicked the opening goal of the match and finished with 18 disposals, Blandford kicked two goals and was always in space, while Justin Blair also won some hard ball. Blandford was joined by Preston and Allen with two goals.
Wy Yung coach, Shaun Mooney, collected 27 disposals, 25 of which were kicks.
Kicking with the wind, Todd Alexander almost drilled the first goal with one of the only attacking side attempts for the game, however his long shot was fumbled over the line by Mick Preston, who could have allowed the ball to go through.
Soon after Darren Allen had a set shot attempt miss entirely, before at the seven-minute mark Dyer roved a Kane Ashwood set shot which drifted across the face, kicking truly with a snap.
Four minutes later Rohan Blandford drilled a set shot after Paul Gould captured Darcy Murray holding the ball for 13-point lead.
Another Lindenow behind would be the only other scores in a difficult term.
The Cats were forced to the defensive side of the ground as Wy Yung’s defence, while under pressure, showed great intent.
Pressure was the name of the game and both sides were holding their own.
Anderson put Wy Yung on the board four minutes into the second quarter thanks to a downfield holding free kick against Jeremy Woodward in the gate pocket.
The deficit was back to eight, however should have been back beyond two goals when Allen failed to handball to a clear Preston in the goalsquare moments later, instead his rushed shot on goal failed to score.
Following a scuffle, Anderson received another free kick, this time for high contact, and with a 50m penalty, goaled from goal line at the 10minute mark.
A difficult 10 minutes would follow with neither side able to find space to attack and score, until Allen created something from nothing in time on and very nearly made up for his earlier blunder, however a quick snap received a legbreak bounce and went through for a behind.
The Cats’ lead was two, however neither side was giving an inch and the team to make the most of the wind in the second half would win.
Allen did just that after a strong one-on-one contested mark, the Lindenow small forward nailing a long set shot from the clubrooms pocket – the only goal from that side of the ground for the afternoon. Lindenow’s lead was eight after five minutes.
The Tigers were doing everything in their power to hold the Cats at bay and were right in the match, looking headed to the three quarter time huddle with a single digit deficit, however that changed when a rushed behind attempt went wrong and Preston pounced.
The Tigers would create a possible scoring chance soon after when James Beha marked on the lead, however his attempt didn’t register a score.
Wy Yung was up against it, but not out of the hunt, until Blandford extended the lead to 22.
Wy Yung was dead in the water. It continued to try, but run had dried up as Preston and Allen added to Lindenow’s lead.
BOMBERS BLOW MAGPIES AWAY
Boisdale Briagolong will also meet Lindenow in the reserves grand final, bouncing back from its semi final loss to the Cats by dismantling Lucknow by 72 points.
Lucknow kicked just one goal – in the opening 10 seconds of the match from the boot of Andrew Nelson – before Boisdale hit its straps.
Scores were level at quarter time, however the Magpies would not impact the scoreboard again as Boisdale kicked away booting four goals with the breeze.
Lucknow was out of the race midway through the third quarter as the Bombers strengthened their defence and mustered three majors into the wind.
Boisdale would add a further four goals in the final quarter to ensure they took some momentum into this week’s grand final.
Aaron Scicluna kicked three goals in a best afield effort for the Bombers, Toby Leeds, Jeremy Reid and Dylan Bolton kicked two each, while Byron Sandemann did his chances of earning a senior grand final spot no harm.
Nelson was Lucknow’s best along with defender, Leigh Stephenson, and veteran, Stephen Bull.
TIGERS CAUSE BOILOVER
Wy Yung handled the early morning wind best, toppling preliminary final favourite, Orbost Snowy, by 25 points.
The Blues were kept to four third quarter behinds as the Tigers sealed victory with two goals in each of the second and fourth quarters.
Jock Overend, Jordi Williams, Thomas Hudson and Jai Nicholls goaled for the Tigers, with Hudson, Max Keddie and Overend the team’s best.
Lachlan Barnes, Jordan Ross and Max Welsh played well for the Blues.
PICTURED: Lindenow winger, Rohan Blandford, stood up when it counted in the Cats’ East Gippsland senior football preliminary final win over Wy Yung on Saturday. Blandford kicked a first quarter goal before putting his side in an unassailable position with the first goal of the final quarter, and first goal into the wind for the afternoon, from long range.