Magpies aim to break 27-year premiership drought

By Jackson Russell

Wallan is just four quarters away from its first senior premiership since 1992 after an upset Riddell District Football Netball League preliminary win over reigning premiers Diggers Rest.

The Magpies were able to slowly but surely extend their lead throughout the tight contest on their way to a 27-point win at Romsey Park on Saturday.

Wallan moves on to face Rupertswood in the decider at Clarke Oval in Sunbury on Sunday.

Diggers Rest opened the scoring not long after the opening bounce before Chris Barton kicked the first of his two goals to level the scores.

Barton went down soon after, getting carried off following a high tackle.

Wallan’s Michael Tang escapes a swarm of Diggers Rest midfielders. ​

League leading goal-kicker Matt Perri slotted the free kick from dead in front of goal for his first of three goals for the day.

The sides traded goals in a fast-paced first term, going into quarter time deadlocked at 4.1 (25).

The Magpies broke away from the Burras in the second term, kicking 3.4 to 1.4 to take a 13-point lead into half-time.

Wallan carried its momentum into the third term, holding Diggers Rest to just one goal while kicking two more of their own to extend its lead to 17 points at three-quarter time.

The Magpies just had to hold on for half an hour to book their ticket to the grand final and did just that.

Wallan’s defence shone through once again, allowing just one more goal while the forwards did their job and kicked two goals to seal the win.

Wallan assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said the coaching staff was after another hot start.

“We were after a good start like last week against Romsey and we got it,” he said.

“We kicked into the breeze and looked very dangerous forward.

“We backed it up in the second term and after half-time we won the third quarter into the breeze. Despite not converting all our chances in the last term, we did enough.

“We put together a great four quarter performance.”

Mathieson said Barton and Michael Mannix were standouts in the win.

“Some of the better players were Patrick Mahoney, Michael Tang, Jarryd Bonello and Matt Perri but again we had 22 contributors,” he said.

“Our young side just kept grinding away and to Diggers Rest’s credit, they just kept coming all day.”

Diggers Rest 7.8 (50) def by Wallan 11.11 (77)

Goals: C. Mc Cabe 2, A. Del Papa, M. Krul, S. Clarke, C. Laurie, T. Taylor.
Best: A. Del Papa, T. Hine, M. Krul, S. Clarke, T. Taylor, S. Egan

Goals: M. Perri 3, C. Grindlay 3, B. Schraven 2, C. Barton 2, M. Mannix.
Best: C. Barton, M. Mannix, M. Tang, P. Mahoney, M. Perri, J. Bonello