SUNS BOOK GRAND FINAL DATE WITH SHARKS
By NICK BOYLAN
In a see-sawing contest, the Wyndham Suns managed to pull away from Tarneit to record a 27-point win and book their place in the Division 3 Grand Final against Point Cook Centrals.
In front of a packed house at Pennell Reserve in Braybrook, the Suns were able to make their chances count more than the Titans in the first quarter, with the wind causing havoc at Tarneit’s scoring end. Wyndham’s slick ball movement through the corridor continued to provide Steve Neralic with scoring opportunities, while Tarneit struggled to crack the Suns’ defensive unit.
Adam Scarpino continued to cut off the Titan’s tilts forward, as an inaccurate Tarneit trailed the Suns by 8-points at quarter time.
Titans coach Mark Elso reinforced the need for patience at the quarter-time huddle, emphasising his players need to not “panic and be silly”, especially with movement out of the back half. Elso also demanded more pressure in the forward half, and this was answered all over the ground, as Tarneit worked back into the game during the second term. While Wyndham scored the first of the quarter through a boundary-line snap from Haidyn Boothey, the Titans were able to gain the ascendancy, as John Zangari was able to do damage up forward. Adam Miriklis also started to work himself into the game, but the Wyndham Suns still managed to kick goals of their own, ensuring scores were level at the main change.
The third quarter saw the game go up a notch, as both teams exchanged goals while the weather cleared, and allowed for a more free-flowing contest. Wyndham’s run was able to get going once again, setting up more Neralic opportunities to get on the scoreboard. Miriklis was able to match these efforts at the other end, taking a terrific diving mark across the pack and converting a massive goal for the Titans, as the momentum continued to swing.
In amongst the chaos, Richard Psaila was able to slot his second for the quarter, with the Titans going into the last change ahead by four points.
After a stirring speech from coach Boothey emphasising unity and strength in the contest, Wyndham were able to come out of the blocks with two goals from three centre clearances to start the last quarter. Rhys Kirk and Dean Cachia provided targets while Neralic was off the ground, as the Suns begun to run away with the contest. Neralic returned to kick two more goals, ensuring the Suns victory and path to the Grand Final on Saturday.
The Titans fought hard all day, but were ultimately overrun, with no doubt they will challenge for a Grand Final spot in 2019. For Wyndham, they’re able to improve from last year’s preliminary final exit, and take on the well-rested Sharks in what promises to be a great Grand Final.