St Pauls Old Scholars make a finals statement. Elizabeth have a huge fall from grace and miss out on finals action. While Blackfriars OS are purring along nicely
By Lachlan Jones

Houghton Districts 26.19 (175) def Mawson Lakes 11.8 (74)

In the final game of the season for both sides, it was Houghton who finished their year on a high, dismantling the visiting Mawson Lakes by 101 points on Saturday. Interestingly, they began the game behind, trailing at quarter time by 13 points as Mawson Lakes kicked away early. But, that would be all she wrote for the visitors, as Houghton piled on 22 goals to 4 for the next three quarters to run away with this one. Cameron Thompson kicked seven majors for the home side, while Joel Coff (5 goals) and Brad Lees (4) added some handy goalkicking prowess. Bryant Korner was best afield for the winning team, and while it was a meaningless game in terms of placing for finals – both sides were well out of contention – it was at least a positive sign for Houghton to take into the offseason.

Blackfriars OS 11.12 (78) def Marion 11.4 (70)

Blackfriars have finished the season in second place with finals next week, as they just held on against an accurate Marion outfit to oust them by eight points. Marion, who desperately needed a win or other results to go their way to make finals, put up a valiant fight on the road, and although they lost, they squeezed into September action in fifth place. Down at half time, it took a great back half of the match to come out on top, with Antonio Scaffidi-Muta (4 goals) and Matthew Nelson (5 votes) the standouts. The win sees Blackfriars finish the home and away season on a 7-2 record and will play St Pauls next week in the qualifying final.

Para Hills 13.11 (89) def Ingle Farm 11.9 (75)

In the other meaningless game of the round, with both sides just hoping for some positive signs heading into the long break, it was Para Hills that won the close encounter on the weekend. There was an evident ‘scoring end’, with Ingle Farm leading at quarter time and three-quarter time but trailing at half time and eventually losing the game. Nicolas Lynch and Steven Willment split four goals apiece and Chris Raeger was best on ground for the Kangaroos, who had to outlast the first competitive challenge Ingle Farm had produced in several weeks. The win sees Para Hills finish at 2-8 and well behind the finals pace, while Ingle Farm recorded just one win in the entirety of 2020.

Hectorville 6.12 (48) def by St Pauls 7.7 (49)

Inaccurate kicking has cost Hectorville an undefeated regular season, falling short of a perfect year by just one point at the hands of its potential fellow grand finalist St Pauls on Saturday. The visitors kicked goals in just two quarters of the game, yet it was enough to hold on against the Hounds, who kicked 2.6 in the last quarter to shoot themselves in the foot. With just 13 goals combined, the hard-fought contest was at finals intensity, proving a preview for September action. Glenn Gibbs was voted best on ground for St Pauls, with some serious momentum gained by the visitors heading into this week’s qualifying final. Hectorville have the week off since they finished top, which may be an imperative rest if they are to lick their wounds and come back stronger the following week.

Trinity 10.15 (75) def Elizabeth 10.6 (66)

Elizabeth’s season ended abruptly on Saturday, with percentage costing them a place in finals for 2020. The Eagles needed to win to progress to September, especially with Marion losing, but they could not get the job done as the home side Trinity prevailed by nine points in a narrow contest. The Eagles and Marion both finished on a 5-4 record, but Marion’s percentage was just 1% higher, meaning they finished in fifth and ultimately will play finals footy. Contrastingly, Trinity finished fourth by percentage, and will play Marion this week in an elimination final, missing out on the qualifying final and a double chance by percentage to St Pauls and Blackfriars. Trinity’s Scott Prime kicked four to lead all goalkickers, while Alex Arthur was the winning side’s best in the spirit-lifting victory.

2 Blackfriars V 3 St Pauls

It is finals time, and what better way to kick it off then with two teams in scintillating, finals-ready form: Blackfriars and St Pauls. Blackfriars ended their 2020 home and away campaign with a close eight-point win against fellow finalist Marion, while St Pauls pulled off a huge upset, travelling to Hectorville and dethroning the untouchable Hounds by a point. There is a double chance present in this game; the loser will get another shot next week against the winner of the Trinity-Marion game, while the winner will play Hectorville in a potential grand final preview next week. Everything is to play for, so who will show up?

4 Trinity V 5 Marion

Marion make the long trek to Gawler to take on Trinity in this week’s elimination final, coming off a narrow loss to Blackfriars last week and looking to bounce back. Trinity held off a valiant Eagles outfit to knock them out of September action, so their morale will be boosted heading into this crunch-time clash. Trinity won two more games than Marion in 2020, so form suggests that Trinity should advance, but Marion have been very competitive against good sides this year and have even beaten a few, so the potential is there for a ripping contest. There is no tomorrow for the loser of this contest. Who will advance to week two in September?

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