Great Flinders football
A grade: Ramblers 9-15 (69) def Tumby Bay 4-3 (27)
ON a typically breezy afternoon in otherwise fair conditions the home side was quietly confident.
With James back in the side, the Blues knew they had to make up for the loss of solid defensive players Edmonds and Lebrun and the flair of the injured Murphy and Cooper against a full strength Ramblers.
In the first quarter, albeit with wind assistance, the Blues looked up to job.
Hind was working well in the centre, the young McDonald brothers were effective and when Rees goaled twice the home side looked solid in attack while Ramblers' efforts to push forward were swept up by Lawrie.
At quarter time the sides were three points apart after Ramblers pegged a goal back; Blues 2-0 (12) to Ramblers 1-3 (9).
The second quarter was the season definer as Scott Blacker effectively brought Tumby Bay's season to an end. No matter how high, hard or fast Tumby got the ball forward, Blacker gathered it up and returned it.
James Pedler quickly lodged the first goal of the quarter for Ramblers before W. Haarsma slotted another two. All of a sudden it seemed as if the Blues were pushing into a gale-force wind.
The age-defying Shirley benefited from a brief scuffle, which led to a sin binning of James and a 50-metre free kick in front of goal.
Haarsma goaled again for Ramblers and Tumby Bay seemed to be losing contests all over the ground. The exception being the spirited effort of C. Watson, who was playing desperation football.
Ramblers went into half time four goals clear.
After the break it was clear the Blues' season was getting away from them. They could not get past the fortress Blacker had built in defence.
While Ramblers only put on three points for the quarter, the Blues were held scoreless; Blues 2-2 (14) to Ramblers 6-10 (46).
With George Pedler kicking the first major of the fourth within minutes Tumby could have disintegrated. To their credit this did not happen as Rees fought hard to get one back.
To the end Franklin used his trademark side step to get the ball forward while Walker and Lawrie tried to grind the ball up the field but it was cult hero Wade Gerrie who raise a few heads when he leapt at a high ball and hung onto a memorable mark.
It was far too little too late as Ramblers, with Blacker to thank, ran themselves into the grand final.
B grade: Tumby Bay 11-6 (72) def Rambers 5-5 (35)
Ramblers won the toss and elected to kick towards the southern end. Both teams looked strong with some good match-ups in key positions.
The Tumby Bay midfield looked focused and had the first two forward 50 entries, only to be cut off by Adam Haarsma both times.
Ramblers big man Alex Will took two marks inside 50 but only managed minor scores until his third attempt after a good tackle on Stuart Richardson saw him have a set shot and goal.
Tumby was quick on the return score with Jacob Cave going into the ruck and on-ballers Flemming and Franklin combining to set up Chris Prime for his first.
Tumby Bay looked to be the cleaner side and used the run of young wingmen Hammond and Newton to work the ball well from the backline and hit up leading forward Harley Pahl twice, resulting in goals.
Ramblers got some repeat entries through L. Blacker and B. Blacker but they only resulted in minor scores.
Tumby had a healthy lead of four goals at quarter time after a late goal from A. Brown.
The second quarter began as it finished with the Blues' midfield dominant with big South African import, E. Boddington, rucking well.
Will scored the first of the term after another tackle resulting in a set shot from 35m out.
From that point on Ramblers had trouble getting it past their forward 50 line and Tumby kicked three unanswered goals through A. Brown and J. Cave to lead by six goals at the long break.
After the first Tumby Bay goal of the third term from S. Letton, Ramblers mounted a small comeback with two quick goals from some nice work through E. Haarsma and J. Povey.
The last goal of the quarter came from a huge kick from the square courtesy of Blues' skipper Flemming and Prime, using his years of experience to outmark J. Secker and slot his third.
Towards the end of the quarter Ramblers' big man Will came off second best in a marking contest and did not play any further part in the game.
The final quarter was a good arm wrestle between two tiring teams, with cramp visible in both sides.
A good set shot from B. Franklin helped Ramblers claw back to five goals but time was against them.
Ramblers had three consecutive forward 50 entries but the Blues' defence worked like a well-oiled machine and held up well.
The last goal came from a checkside kick from D. Pepper to Brown who snagged his fourth for the day, sealing it for the Blues.
Senior colts: Ramblers 12-9 (81) def Cougars 4-15 (39)
Gallant Cougars fought hard but were outclassed by the bigger-bodied Ramblers.
Starting with a two to three-goal wind advantage, Cougars struggled to get their hands on the ball early as Ramblers dominated the opening five minutes.
Mickan, at centre half forward, was lively as was Pedler, with Lochie Treloar looking ominous up forward.
Ramblers soon had two goals by Treloar and if not for the efforts of Gale and Turnbull in particular, Ramblers may have blown the game open.
Cougars got some reward for effort when Charlie Sheppherd kicked a long-range goal following a clean centre clearance but Ramblers replied instantly with a slick centre clearance of their own, finishing in the hands Harvey Pedler who snapped truly.
Ramblers' bigger bodies around the contest proved the difference and they led at the first break 3-3 to 1-2.
With the wind at their backs Ramblers would have been confident but Cougars were not about to lay down.
Momentum fluctuated but Ramblers' class and skill was the difference with faster ball movement going forward where the Treloar boys both hit the scoreboard capitalising on the midfield work of Modra, Langley, Cretttenden, Pedler and Parsons.
Cougars' Aaron Kerr showed glimpses of promise, side stepping older opponents and using his dangerous left foot to find teammates.
Gale and the Turnbull boys were also prominent but the Cougars' forwards could not fully capitalise, going in to half-time trailing 8-5 to 3-4.
A rain squall early in the third made scoring difficult for Cougars who needed a massive quarter.
Isaac Traeger tried desperately to lift his team with some great efforts contesting in the air, Gale was constantly sending the ball forward and Billy Mahoney was also getting his hands on the ball but Cougars could not find consistent avenues to goal.
Ramblers' strong defence of Blacker, May and Claughton repelled time and time again. A goal apiece for the quarter had Ramblers leading 9-5 to 4-11.
Intensity lifted early in the final term. Laube and Gale tried to inspire their teammates but Ramblers held firm. Parsons continued to dominate in the ruck and when Lochie Treloar snapped truly from 40m, Cougars seemed resigned to the inevitable. They continued to push forward but could not find any avenue to goal. Ramblers finished with two goals through Harvey Pedler and Hugh Redden.
Best: Ramblers: L. Treloar, H. Pedler, T. Modra, E. Parsons and J. Crettenden; Cougars: Jayden Gale, Charlie and Jack Turnbull, Isaac Traeger and Billy Mahoney.
Mini colts: Cummins Kapinnie 1-3 (9) def United Yeelanna 1-2 (8)
Cougars advanced to the grand final with a hard-fought win over a determined Eagles.
The Eagles kicked with the breeze in the first quarter but Cougars did the early attacking.
Ruckmen Bradley Phelps and Tahj Bryant both impressive early, looking to give their on-ballers first look at it.
With much of the first quarter played through the middle, there were limited scoring opportunities and neither side scored.
Cougars applied plenty of pressure early in the second and were first to hit the scoreboard with a rushed kick resulting in a point.
Eagles' defence held up well under pressure but it was again Cougars who went forward after an intercept mark by Zephyr Thomson.
Mitch Blacker was finding plenty of it and applying forward line pressure.
Beau Maddern put his head over the ball and was rewarded with a free kick deep in the back pocket to again clear it for the Eagles but Cougars took a two-point lead into half time after Jimmy Doudle's late snap missed.
Eagles' Bailey Doolan start to impose himself in the third, sending the Eagles forward many times, eventually getting the Eagles on the scoreboard with a point. The Eagles continued to push hard with the wind but were unable to get scores on the board. Phelps and Blacker ensured Cougars went into the last quarter with the lead, albeit by a small margin.
Cougars were expected to get the job done with the wind and a small lead but the Eagles were not going down without a fight.
Bailey Doolan almost got his team over the line when he goaled to give his side a five-point lead with less than two minutes to play but Mitch Blacker won the ball and sent Cougars forward, with Zephyr Thomson kicking the match winner to send his side into the grand final by a point.
Best: Cougars: Phelps, Blacker, Thomson, Hazelgrove, Hill and Wright; Eagles: Doolan, Bryant, Randall, Dingwall, Maddern and Hancock.