HOPE is not lost for Wallan’s senior footballers despite their Riddell District Football Netball League semi-final loss to premiership favourites Diggers Rest on Saturday.
In a hotly-contested match that saw the lead switch multiple times the Magpies took a 22-point lead into halftime.
But the determined Burras clawed their way back to win by seven points in extended overtime.
The loss, however, was an encouraging sign for Wallan against a Diggers Rest side who has sat on top of the ladder for most of the season.
Wallan will now have a second chance to secure a grand final berth in this weekend’s preliminary final against Woodend-Hesket at Romsey.
The Magpies played Woodend-Hesket in the qualifying final the week before and won by seven points.
Assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said it was important to capitalise on Romsey Park’s ‘scoring end’ for the match and was ‘proud’ of how the team played.
“There was a scoring end and Diggers had it in the first quarter, we had a very good second quarter – I’d say to the scoring end – so that set us up for the lead. We had nine shots at goal, so we looked pretty dangerous,” he said.
“It was a great game, [I’m] pretty proud of how we played. Diggers came back, which we thought they probably would … and they just got us in the last half of extra time.”
Among the standout performers in the rematch of round 14 were Brodie Gilchrist, Corey Viani, Todd Muldoon, Angus Love and Sean Morris, along with captain Michael Mannix who also scored three goals.
Mathieson said he was disappointed not to come away with the win but was confident in knowing the side had competed well.
“We knew we could compete with them but we just needed to make sure we got better for longer, which we were,” he said.
“When we played them last time, we fell away in the second half but this time we kept coming all day, which was really pleasing.
“We need to make sure we win this week to get another crack at them, but we’re pretty confident we’ll be able to put in a good performance [in the preliminary final].”
In contrasting fortunes, Wallan’s Reserves managed a strong result against the Burras in Saturday’s semi-final to secure a spot in the grand final.
However Romsey’s Reserves were eliminated from the finals by Woodend-Hesket, who will now face the Burras in this weekend’s preliminary final.
In the under 19.5 competition, Wallan ended Romsey’s season on Sunday and will now gear up to face Gisborne this weekend – the Giants themselves coming off a semi-final loss to Macedon on Saturday.
Woodend-Hesket rounded out the disappointing day for the Redbacks, bringing an end to what had been an impressive finals campaign for the underdog club.
Sunday’s match went down to the wire after Romsey took a strong early lead, however the match eventually finished 63 to 60 in favour of the Hawks, despite strong attacking play by Corey Pertzel and Jack Jedwab.
The Hawks’ win means they will face Wallan at Romsey Park in this Saturday’s preliminary final to determine who will face Diggers Rest in the grand final on September 17.
Sharing a similar fate to its football counterparts, Romsey’s season in the A Grade netball competition came to an end following its semi-final loss to Macedon.
Goalscoring efforts from the Redbacks – this week led by Hope Hamilton with 24 goals – were not enough to overcome Macedon who eventually took the win by 10 goals and now prepare to face Riddell this weekend.
The preliminary pair last met in round 12 of the A Grade competition, when the Bombers took the win by four goals.
In other netball action, Wallan’s under 19 side progressed to the preliminary finals after taking home a one-goal win over Melton Centrals on Sunday.
The result means the Magpies will play Riddell this weekend – the Bombers having lost to the Western Rams in Saturday’s semi-final by six goals.
Wallan was the victor by just one goal when it last met Riddell in the final round of the 2023 season.