By David Nagel
Cranbourne has set up a dream date with Berwick in next Saturday’s second semi-final at Pakenham after a 30-point victory over Narre Warren in the qualifying final at Beaconsfield.
Costly turnovers hampered the Eagles in the first half, but a brilliant second-half display – where they kept the most potent forward line in the competition to just three points – saw them waltz away with victory.
Cranbourne coach Simon Goosey was a very proud man after the match, praising his side for its relentless pressure over four quarters.
“I’m super proud of the boys, I think we’ve been building and building to something like this and finals football is all about pressure,” Goosey said.
“The indicators were all there in the first half – they were where we wanted them to be – but turnovers cost us big time. The thing I was most proud of was the way we stuck to our guns and worked together as a team.
“You only play good sides in finals, so to keep a good side to no goals after half time was extremely pleasing. Shaun Marusic’s smother, Maxy (Gearon) did a tonne of work through the midfield and Cheekers (Ryan Davey) responded well after getting a bit of a bake at half time. I couldn’t be prouder of that effort.”
The Magpies had the better of the first half; they were cleaner and more efficient in front of goal with Aaron Wilson kicking four, including three in the second term. A goal to Marc Holt, on the half-time siren, saw the Eagles cut the margin to just six points at the major break.
Cranbourne played inspired football in the second half, not allowing the Magpies any breathing space with a relentless brand of pressure perfectly suited to finals football.
The Magpies began to turn over the footy, with players like Marusic, Mat Fletcher, Davey and Gearon providing a pacy forward line with ample supply of the ball. Zak Roscoe kicked two third-quarter goals, backed up by another to Luke Bee-Hugo, before two to Ryan Jones, and another to Holt, put the issue to bed in the final term.
“We had to restructure the side because Cyril (Khaled Kandakji) pulled out this morning, he’s crook in bed, but our small forwards really did some damage with their pace…pace allows you to do a lot in finals football,” Goosey said.
Roscoe finished with four for the Eagles, Jones three and Holt two, while Brandon Osborne added another scalp to his outstanding collection by keeping Magpie sharp-shooter Nick Scanlon to no goals.
Marusic was superb in the second half, with his centre-bounce clearances a feature, while Jayden Sullivan played a telling role across half back.
Wilson was dangerous early for the Magpies while Jordyn Flannery did a terrific job on Holt and youngster Tom Miller was creative in the first half.
Goosey quickly turned his attention to next week’s clash against the unbeaten Berwick.
“It’s a 50-50 game, we’re both in the same position now,” Goosey said.
“The only difference is we’ve had two tough games leading in, and then another today and that holds us in good stead. The continuity gives you a lot, the only thing you worry about is injuries, and we got through with no injuries today.”
Narre Warren will take on the winner of tomorrow’s elimination final between Beaconsfield and Doveton at Edwin Flack Reserve.
And in the A grade netball, Tooradin-Dalmore progressed through to a second-semi final against Narre Warren with a 50-33 victory over Beaconsfield. Scores were tight early before the Seagulls put the foot down in the second half. Jess Cox (GA) and Alex Maher (GS) were superb for the Seagulls in the second half.
CRANBOURNE 1.4 6.9 9.11 12.12(84)
NARRE WARREN 4.2 8.3 8.4 8.6(54)
Cranbourne Goals: Zak Roscoe 4, Ryan Jones 3, Marc Holt 2, Luke Bee-Hugo, Glenn Osborne, Michael Thompson. Best: Shaun Marusic, Zak Roscoe, Brandon Osborne, Ryan Jones, Jayden Sullivan, Luke Bee-Hugo.
Narre Warren Goals: Aaron Wilson 4, Tom Miller 2, Hayden Stagg, Luke Cody. Best: Aaron Wilson, Jordyn Flannery, Tom Miller.