DISTRICTS THROUGH TO TIV DIVISION 1 FINAL
By CONNOR PAIN
Werribee Districts are through to the TIV Division 1 Grand Final after an upset win against Caroline Springs, setting up an exciting clash with Altona in the final game of the year.
The 16.8. (104) to 7.14. (56) win was as shocking as it was dominant, with Districts the far superior team after quarter time and now have the chance to win a first WRFL senior premiership.
Both sides started nervously but the attack on the ball and contest was at full throttle from the opening bounce, and it was the Lakers who settled first, led admirably by Mitch Bongiovanni.
Caroline Springs seemed in total control once the first quarter siren sounded with Werribee struggling to move the ball past the wing due to the minor premiers suffocating defence.
In the two home and away meetings between the sides, Districts had kicked just six majors in each of the matchups yet in the second term of the preliminary final, the now grand finalists exploded with an eight-goal quarter to blow the game wide open.
Kicking with the breeze behind them, Chris Gilham’s men threw caution to the wind and could do no wrong. Their first seven scoring shots were goals, and they turned a 15-point deficit into a 16-point lead at the main break.
Despite the onslaught, the Lakers were still right in the game having booted three goals of their own in the second term.
Only a few flickers of hope remained after the restart however as the Districts didn’t go away or ease up on the pressure across the ground.
A stout defence kept Caroline Springs to six solitary behinds in the third as they just could not find the radar in front of goal throughout the entire second half.
With the game all but over at the final change, the Districts confirmed it early in the fourth with another barrage of quick goals to seal the victory well before the final siren sounded, finishing the last term with a six goal to one advantage.
The minor premier’s only goal of the entire second half came after the final siren, a Ryan Allan mark and finish his fourth for the afternoon, one of the few Lakers who featured across all four quarters.
Lachlan Rainbow and Dylan Viojo-Rainbow shone brightest for Districts, the former booting three majors and the latter dominant with his ability to win the ball at the contest and advance it forward all afternoon.
Daniel Nielson and Chris Molivas also added three goals each, with Molivas playing his 150th game in a row as the preliminary final was coincidentally the club’s 150th match in the WRFL.
The 48-point thumping sets up a tantalising final game of the season and a matchup not many would have predicted entering the finals.
Altona will enter as strong favourites on the back of a strong home and away season and two big wins in the finals against Deer Park and Caroline Springs.
Werribee enter in arguably better form of the two grand finalists but will be considered underdogs, having knocked off Hoppers Crossing in a tight elimination final, Deer Park in a hard-fought semi-final and now Caroline Springs in a dominant preliminary final.
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