By Jackson Russell
Wallan’s fairy tale run through the Riddell District Football Netball League finals continued with an upset victory over Romsey on Sunday.
Playing on Romsey’s home turf, the Redbacks’ loss means they are knocked out the senior football finals in straight sets.
With the 35-point win, the Magpies return to Romsey Park on Saturday to face reigning premiers Diggers Rest in a do-or-die preliminary final.
The winner will take on Rupertswood in the grand final on September 14.
Wallan came out of the gates hot with the breeze behind them and put Romsey on the back foot early, kicking the first four goals of the game.
While Romsey had home support, it was hard to tell from the reaction around the ground as the Magpies kicked their fourth.
Romsey was able to get on the scoreboard halfway through the first term as the two sides traded goals in a fast-paced opening.
Wallan took a 27-point lead into quarter time.
The Redbacks steadied the ship in the second term, but weren’t able to close the gap thanks in-part to some errant shots at goal, kicking 3.5 to Wallan’s 3.1 which led to a 23-point deficit at half-time.
After looking threatening for much of the second term, the wind and the rain came in the second half, giving the Redbacks an even tougher ask to come back from.
Wallan held Romsey scoreless in the third term while kicking just one goal to extend their lead to 37 points at three-quarter time.
With the game in the palm of its hands, Wallan didn’t let the lead slip and held on for the surprise win.
Wallan assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said the Magpies’ coaching staff was after a good start and got just that.
“We kicked with the breeze and looked very dangerous forward. We backed it up in the second term and took a 23-point lead into half time,” he said.
“After half-time we had very heavy rain and wind which made it hard to execute so it was going to be hard for Romsey to come back in the conditions. We put together a great four quarter performance.”
Magpies forward Matt Perri slotted his 100th goal for the season on his way to five goals for the day.
“Some of the better players were Patrick Mahoney, Michael Mannix, Chris Barton, Sean Morris, Jarryd Bonello and Matt Perri but again today we had 22 contributors,” Mathieson said.
“Matt Perri bought up his 100th goal for the season which is a magnificent accomplishment in his first season at the club.”
“We know Diggers are the reigning premiers but our young side can’t wait for the opportunity.”
Wallan’s reserves are also still alive after they suffered a 27-point loss to Rupertswood on Saturday.
Romsey 6.10 (46) def by Wallan 12.9 (81)
Goals: N. Blair 2, J. Naylor 2, J. Caruana, N. Rayment.
Best: J. Jedwab, C. Burkett, C. Whelan, J. O’Sullivan, J. Caruana, N. Blair
Goals: M. Perri 5, S. Morris 2, T. Robertson, C. Barton, S. Stewart, C. Grindlay, P. Mahoney.
Best: M. Perri, C. Barton, P. Mahoney, B. Hanson, J. Bonello, M. Mannix.