WARRIORS WIN, SET FOR LIONS SHOWDOWN
By CONNOR PAIN
In pouring rain and what seemed like gale force winds, a spot in the RAMS Division 1 Grand Final was up for grabs. Despite finishing the regular season in first place, Altona were knocked out of the finals series, by a determined Hoppers Crossing team.
A goal late in the fourth quarter saw the Warriors overcome terrible weather to knock off the Vikings by three points and book their rematch with Deer Park, the two sides playing in the Premiership decider for the second time in three years.
Both sides kicked just three goals each as neither could manage the howling winds that turned the game into a battle for field position, mainly played out in front of the Williamstown stand wing.
Hoppers Crossing were on top for most of the day, but couldn’t convert their strong play into a lead, recording nine behinds in the second quarter alone.
But it matters little as the Warriors kept fighting and scratching, not stopping until the late major that caused the upset of the finals series.
The 3.12. (30) to 3.9. (27) win will certainly not be remembered for the style it was played in, but it could be the confidence building win that spurs Hoppers Crossing into producing another upset in the Grand Final.
The loss ends Altona’s season prematurely, given they finished the season on top of the ladder. While they were outplayed, it would be hard to find fault with the Vikings from Saturday’s performance given how bad the conditions were and turned the match into a scrap.
Deer Park will enter the final as favourites on the back of their own form and the result of the last matchup between the two sides. The Lions were too good for the Warriors in their Qualifying Final, but if the weather is a factor as it was in the Preliminary Final, anything can happen.
As it currently stands, the forecast predicts rain and if that holds true, Hoppers Crossing will give themselves every chance to knock off the five-time reigning premiers.
The Lions showed their class in its two finals wins this season and if they can continue their great form they should create history and win their sixth flag in a row.