It’s Lockleys premiership for the taking unless they have one of their famous September chokes. If they fall in September then both Kenilworth and Salisbury will be ready to pounce
By Jakob Matheson

Elimination Final 
Pooraka vs. Salisbury 

The Elimination Final saw an in-form Salisbury play host to the unpredictable Pooraka when the two teams met at Salisbury Oval. With a birth in the First Semi-Final on the line. It was the Magpies in Shaun Rowe’s 200th game, who burst out the gates with a dominate first quarter. The Pie’s put on five goal to none, as the Bulls had no answer to Salisbury’s hunger and attack on the ball. With a 32 points led at quarter-time, the Magpies were in firm control of the match and showed they have what it takes to go deep in September. Whilst it was looking to be the end of a very turbulent but a somewhat consistently, inconsistent 2020 season for the Bulls. To Pooraka’s credit they came out with a new found intensity after quarter time, but despite their effort they still found themselves down by 39 points at the main break after the Magpies kicked three goals to two for the term. The third quarter turned into an arm wrestle with neither team about to create any momentum. The Pies were still very much in control but had failed to kill off the Bulls and there was some sense of optimism in the Bulls huddle as they headed to three quarter time break, still trailing by 39 points. That optimism quickly varnished as the Magpies kicked four goals inside the first ten minutes of the final quarter to ensure the Bulls season would end in a heavy defeat. The Magpies finished the way they started as they kicked seven goals to one in the last quarter, to run away 77 point winners, 16.11 107 to 4.6 30. Michael Keenihan set the tone for Pies and he was well supported by Aeddan Hull and Jack Matthews (four goals), whilst Brad Horjus chipped in with 3 goals. Steven Zolnowski continued his good season for the Bulls, who along with James Chakiris battled away all day. Michael Baker was again a lone hand up forward kicking three of Pooraka’s four goals. For the Pies a date with Colonel Light Gardens awaits, whilst for the Bulls a season which a times showed so much promise comes to a very disappointing end.

Qualifying Finals 
Kenilworth vs. Colonel Light Gardens 

In the Qualifying Final at Simonds Park, it was Kenilworth playing host to Colonel Light Gardens. Kenilworth were coming into the game riding a four game winning streak in which they had knocked over the minor premier Lockleys and finished the regular season with a big win over Fitzroy. CLG were also in good form having finished the season with a victory in tightly fought encounter with the Panthers. It would be the Kookaburras who settle the quickest in the first quarter, allowing them to open up a 10 points lead. Colonel Light Gardens had just as many opportunities, however their inability to convert was the only reason they trailed at the first break. The second term continued in the same vain as Kenilworth ability to take it chances, saw them kick three goals to two and extend their lead to 12 points. The Lions could well have been in front as they had 13 scoring shots to 10. Yet, had only manage four goals. Kenilworth started to get on top around the ground in the third quarter as they opened up at 25 point lead. As the final quarter begun Colonel Light Gardens were well truly in the contest. However, it would be Kenilworth lead by Luke Wilson (9 goals), Samuel Scott and Nicholas Chesser that would flex their muscle when it counted, dominating the final term with eight goals to three, to claim a 55 points victory, 20.8 128 to 10.13 73. Alex Brown was the best of the Lions who along with Bryce Smith (7 goals) battled away all day. The victory sees Kenilworth move into the 2nd Semi Final against a team they beat a mere two weeks ago in Lockleys. Whilst Colonel Light Gardens will need to rebound quickly as play host to a red-hot Salisbury outfit who will be full of confidence after disposing of the Bulls.        

Semi Final 2 
Lockleys vs Kenilworth 

When these two powerhouses met only two weeks ago, it was Kenilworth who came away with the chocolates winning by 5 points in one of the games of the year. Fast forward to this weekend and the stakes are much higher with a spot in the Grand Final up for grabs. Lockleys have dominated the competition this season and were dually rewarded with the minor premiership and a first round bye. Kenilworth are coming off an impressive 55-point victory against Colonel Light Gardens in the Qualifying Final and have been building nicely over the last month. One of the reasons for Lockleys success this season is their ability to kick big scores, with players such as Dylan Howie, Henry Johnson and Mathew McDonough all showing they are capable of kicking a bag every week. Kenilworth are also capable of kicking a big score, Luke Wilson is coming of a season best 9 goals in the Qualifying Final whilst Myles Crump, Trent Grosser and Nicholas Chesser all know how to find the goals. This game could be a high scoring affair. The Kookaburras would have taken some confidence out of their victory in round eight, but they know that stands for nothing now and would consider themselves the underdogs. Lockleys would have been disappointed to have lost to the Kookaburras last time and will be wanting to prove the doubters wrong and advance straight into the Grand Final. The Demons have the advantage of the week off and will be fresher for the break. This might prove to be vital if its close late in the game. Let’s hope for a fine day so we can see a high-scoring contest in a game that either side could win. If the Round 8 contest is anything to go by, expect this to be a tough tight contest with intensity levels expected to increase as the game goes on, making the victory and the week off even more important. Lockleys by 6 points.        

Semi Final 1
Salisbury vs Colonel Light Gardens 

Back in round two at StreetFleet Park, Colonel Light Gardens were victorious against Salisbury, kicking 12.13 85 to 8.9 57 in a 28-point victory. Whilst the venue will be the same, so much has changed since that round two clash. Colonel Light Gardens are coming off of a 55-point loss to Kenilworth in the Qualifying Final. While the Magpies have been in sensational form in the second half of the season, capped off with a 77 point master class over Pooraka, in the Elimination Final. The importance of this game can not be underestimated with a spot in the Preliminary Final up grabs. For Salisbury this season has been a coming of age for the club and they have a real chance to make it into something special. Colonel Light Gardens on the other hand have had a somewhat up and down season, having never really got going despite finishing with a 6-3 record. Even with Kenilworth and Lockleys winning regularly, Salisbury are the in-form team in the competition and always look threatening. Especially late in games, just ask Smithfield. As we saw last week, they have the ability to kick big scores and with the likes of Sean Hee, Mathew Slater, Brad Horjus and Jack Matthews, they could do just that. Though don’t go counting out Colonel Light Gardens just yet, despite their recent patchy form, the Lions are still hard to beat. CLG had opportunities last week and had they taken them early the result might have been different. They will hoping for the likes of Nathan Studham, Billy King and Emmett Wood to show the form of earlier if they want to keep their season going. Salisbury will enter the game full of confidence and will likely start favourites and if they put in another performance like they did against Pooraka, Lockleys and Kenilworth will be taking notice.

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