VIKINGS INTO TIV UNDER 19 GRAND FINAL
By JAMES ORUBA
The Preliminary Final of the Western Region Football League TIV Under 19 competition saw Altona meet Caroline Springs, with a date in the Grand Final against Hoppers Crossing on offer for the victorious side.
Despite Altona entering the match as heavy favourites, they had come off a shock loss against Hoppers Crossing in last week’s Semi-Final, while Caroline Springs entered the match with high confidence levels after last week’s gritty victory over Werribee Districts.
With this being the case, there was every chance that the Lakers could produce a stunning upset victory over the Vikings and subsequently book their spot in the big dance.
And for the opening three quarters of the encounter, it looked as if this was set to eventuate.
Right from the first bounce, both sides kept pace with one another, in what was a gritty, tough, low-scoring first half.
As the siren sounded on the second quarter, the Lakers entered the main break with a 2-point lead, 2.4.(16) to 2.2. (14).
Not a solitary spectator at Burbank Oval could predict the dizzying highs and lows that were set to take place in the second half.
Led by the brilliant work of Jy Lambley and Brian Gill, the Lakers produced a dynamic third term in which they kicked three goals to Altona’s two behinds, and entered three-quarter time with a 19-point lead.
It seemingly looked as if the Lakers had secured a berth in Saturday’s Grand Final.
But like a boxer rising off the canvas, the Vikings produced a stunning last-quarter display that showed serious character.
Zachary Santullo, Bailey Johnson, Michael Rubino and Jack Callaway were all key factors as the Vikings kicked six goals two behinds, while keeping the Lakers to no score in a dominant final quarter.
As the final siren sounded, Altona were victorious by 19 points.
Caroline Springs will lick their wounds, and lament on what could have been, while Altona will meet Hoppers Crossing in next week’s Grand Final at Avalon Airport Oval.