THE semi-finals lived up to the billing on the weekend with all teams showing why they made it to the finals.
In the first match of the day we saw Burrawang take on St Georges Basin in the women’s knockout semi. Both teams fought hard for a full 90 minutes,with neither team being able to score the decisive goal. It was 0-0 after regulation time and still 0-0 after two 10-minute periods of sudden death. It then came down to one-on-ones with the Basin girls getting the job done and living another week to try and defend their 2016 premiership.
In the major women’s semi, Berry Black took on Allsorts Orange, these two teams have been the form teams of the season, and Allsorts were not going to let Berry Black have it their own way. Allsorts switched up their processes and some good coaching and research enable them to stretch Berry and deny them their free flowing attack. Berry managed to adjust their play and get the win 5-0, but didn't have it their own way and will have to play at their best in the GF as other teams change their styles.
In the men’s major semi Berry Black took on last year’s premiers Burrawang Yowies. With the Burrawang club winning five out of the last six premierships, they were looking strong again having both their teams in semi contention. Berry Black and Yowies were locked at 1-all 20 minutes into the first half and both sides had periods of pure defence. Berry managed to break away with a 3-1 lead at halftime, but the game was anyone's as Burrawang continued to press. The second half saw Berry come out of the blocks quickest and establish a commanding 5-1 lead. Burrawang were now forced into full out attack, which enabled Berry to counter attack and take the game 7-1. This score was no way indicative of the standard of play and either team could have pushed the advantage in the first half. The GF is no certainty, but Berry has the week off to rest, with only two of their players under 30. Something to be said for old heads and composure.
In the other semi Shoalhaven Heads took on Burrawang Bunyips, both teams at full strength and the run of Heads was telling as Liam Connelly and Dennis Smart caused havoc with the Burrawang defence. Ben Donovan and the Wang lads gave back as good as they got and the game was fast paced with no-one being able to take control of the game. Heads, after three years cemented to the bottom of the ladder, now have the team to go all the way. With the game locked at 2-2 at full-time it took some clever finishing from Heads to win it in sudden death. Heads have the wind in their sails at the moment and will be hard to beat this weekend against Yowies.
The season is no certainty, no matter what the “experts” say. Sport is a funny thing, and finals make it even more interesting. So this weekend Heads will look to beat Yowies in their men’s final, and last year’s premiers will look to defend their title when they come up against Allsorts for a spot to in the GF.