Minor premier South Launceston will spend another week watching from the stands after winning through to the grand final with a 16-point victory over Bracknell.
Kicking with a strong wind at Longford, the Bulldogs stunned their opposition with a brutal opening term, creating 13 scoring shots to take a 41-point lead into the first break.
Bracknell rallied to win each of the next three quarters but couldn’t quite reel in the deficit, falling to a 11.17 (83) to 9.13 (67) loss, which will see them face the winner of Sunday’s semi-final in a preliminary final next weekend.
South coach Leigh Harding, who starred with a bag of three goals, said his side’s opening quarter had gone exactly to plan.
“We’d emphasised about getting away to a good start,” Harding said.
“Obviously the first half it was quite a substantial wind to the Cressy end and we won the toss, and I thought our plan going with the wind really worked well for us.
“We didn’t just want to get there and blaze away, we wanted to make sure we had some good efficient disposal, and coming into quarter time six goals up always gives you a bit of a spring in your step.”
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The Bulldogs had plenty of contributors in the win, with Brad Etchell (three goals) proving potent in attack while Jade Child, Luke Mccarty and young gun Brady Willes were all crucial around the ground.
Harding said he was pleased his team held its nerve late in the game when they were tested by a determined Bracknell outfit.
“One thing about about playing Bracknell, you’ve always got to earn it - every minute of the game you’ve got to give 100 per cent contest and today was no different playing for a grand final spot.
“Their third quarter was fantastic – they made us look second rate.
“They beat us in at the contest and at three-quarter time we were lucky to kick a couple of late ones in that quarter and we really showed a bit of heart in that last quarter and stuck it out so that was really good.”
Bracknell’s defensive unit again won praise from coach Gary Shipton, with Jake Cox and Charlie Archer named among their team’s best performers.
Shipton said his side was forced to chase the game after a slow start.
“The first quarter really cost us today, it was about a five-goal breeze and they got the scores on the board early,” Shipton said.
“The second half was a lot better than our first half but to South’s credit they’re a very good side.”
Rocherlea and Scottsdale will play off for the other preliminary final spot at Scottsdale on Sunday.
The game starts at 2pm.
The story South edge Bracknell to sail through to grand final first appeared on The Examiner.