Mallee Park win their way to Port Lincoln grand final

AWAY: Mallee Park's Kingsley Ware moves the ball away from the contest involving Marble Range's Nick Franklin and Cody Pilgrim and teammate Derick Wanganeen.
AWAY: Mallee Park's Kingsley Ware moves the ball away from the contest involving Marble Range's Nick Franklin and Cody Pilgrim and teammate Derick Wanganeen.

Port Lincoln football preliminary finals

A GRADE: Mallee Park 18-8 (116) def Marble Range 7-5 (47)

A THIRTEEN goal to two second half from Mallee Park has provided them a spot in the grand final this weekend. The Peckers faced Marble Range and the game started relatively evenly as Rangers set up space for uncontested marks while Peckers looked to keep play contested and relied on leg speed.

Shots on goal were few and far between as the two defences worked hard, but the Peckers would get the first three scoring shots with coach Wes Bilney kicking the opening goal. However Marble Range would soon have their first as Tynan Keeley's kick from near the 50 dribbled through, set up by a magnificent run through the centre by Ty George.

Rangers scored the next three goals as they created space and effectively hit targets, Lance Appleby and Koby Sampson emerging as early possession winners. But Mallee Park finished the quarter strongly and were rewarded with goals from midfield guns Derick Wanganeen and Waylon Miller to trail Rangers by four points at quarter time.

Rangers continued to racked up uncontested possessions and started with an important goal from Keeley, but Mallee Park started to turn play back in their favour with their contested play. D. Wanganeen was having a big day in the centre with his clearance work and tackling while W. Miller shined with great leg speed down the wings and clean skills.

The Peckers scored two goals while Rangers managed two more behinds to keep the margin at three points Peckers' way at half time. Due to an altercation in second quarter Mallee Park were awarded a 50 metre penalty at the start of the third quarter which resulted in Scott Young kicking his first goal, before kicking his second a short time later.

The Peckers had their foot on the accelerator and piled on the inside 50s while applying pressure in the midfield which caused Rangers to make several errors, including dropped marks and turnovers from disposals.

The Peckers defence caused turnovers, including Jerome Ah Kit-Burgoyne and Kingsley Ware as well as Ronald Carbine and David Murray who did well to limit chances for Beard and Keeley respectively.

There were five more Peckers goals while Keeley scored one more, his fourth to see the margin at 40 points going into the final break. With the game truly theirs the Peckers finished the job, controlling the ball with their run, effective tackling and contested marks.

The Peckers added another six goals, including a third from Young and conceded a sole goal from Beard to run away with the 69 point-win, their first finals victory since the 2016 grand final.

B GRADE: Lincoln South 8-6 (54) def Mallee Park 7-7 (49)

Games just do not get any closer than this contest last Saturday. There were the ''big body'' hits and tackles that shook the very ground they stood on and a few players were enjoying moments of this game.

Lincoln South were flying high in the first half kicking four goals to the Peckers' one and had a good lead of 13 points at the first break. The hard ball and the clearances were running even and with Filippo Fiore showing smart footy kicked two of his four goals for the day, no mean effort considering the toughness in the opening quarter.

Bobby Dempsey stepped up for his team's third goal and the Eagles took the game on to lead by 13 points kicking 3-2 (20) to the Peckers 1-1 (7).

The Eagles kicking with the wind shut out the Peckers and while they did not make the most of their goal kicking chances they did kick one goal through under 21 player Kaleb Hope who is a player to watch. With that one lone goal to the Peckers two points the Eagles held a 16 point lead at the long break.

The feeling at the long break was that the Peckers coach Marcus Liddell wanted more of everything and he got it as the Peckers lifted the tempo, kicking six goals to the Eagles four but also missed easy goals. It was not enough to run over a toughened up Eagles that kicked four goals to go with their two points to run out winners by five points after leading by 16 at the long break.

Tough to name the best players, lot of new faces on the scene but look for under 21 players Kaleb Hope, Patrick Newman and Cohen Dinnison, just three names in a very long list of promising players, but they also say ''never write off a Pecker''.

UNDER 17: Marble Range 10-10 (70) def Wayback 6-12 (48)

Rangers from the opening bounce went on the attack with Josh and Thomas Bradford setting up early opportunities, assisted by Max Bartlett's stellar ruck work.

Rangers scored the first six goals, including three from J. Bradford who regularly got clean possession and made it count in front of goal and Gil Casanova, who displayed his pace wide and went after the hard ball gets kicked two of his own. Wayback were kept to three behinds as Rangers led by 35-points at the break.

The Demons took control of play in the second, limiting targets for Rangers in the middle and forcing turnovers with Brett Woolford causing many off the back half. Wayback's first goal came from Jarrod Stolz and they had the next five scoring shots, though only one more goal through Beau Sampson.

Ned Linton and Wilson McShane worked hard to win the footy and Dannen Blacker used his height to help win ruck contests and take key marks. Rangers finished the quarter with two behinds as they held on to a 21-point lead at half time.

Zac Mullins scored the first goal of the third quarter but Rangers finally got their first major since the first quarter through Arley Byass. The Demons continued to shine with their contested efforts, highlighted by Linton and McShane with Beau Baldwin kicking two of Wayback's following three goals.

Special mention to Rangers' Corey Hatzimanolis who did a great job to shut out the dangerous Sam Clark. Wayback reduced the margin to nine points by the final break and Rangers needed to lift in the final quarter.

Lift they did, getting their run and carry moving again while the defences put the pressure on Wayback. Brock Davis had a great final quarter with two important goals and a fourth for T. Bradford, while the defence put pressure on Wayback who missed key opportunities, finishing with five behinds.

Despite Wayback's determination throughout Rangers ran home to win by 22 points and setting up the grand final against Souths.

UNDER 15: Wayback 8-6 (54) def Marble Range 4-3 (27)

While Wayback scored double the Rangers' score for most of the four quarters the contest was closer than what the scoreboard said. The Demons were off to a flyer kicking four goals and with two points led by 26 points at the first break.

The Rangers sparkled with more energy, finding more of the ball and supporters now had a contested game to watch. Rangers kicked two goals and two behinds while keeping the Demons to two points for the quarter, cutting their first quarter deficit of 28 points to 14 with a scoreline of 4-4 (28) to Rangers 2-2 (14).

If there was a shake up to either team at the long break it served the Demons who again hustled and bustled at the centre bounce and around the stoppages to put pressure on the midfield and get the ball forward to kick back-to-back goals while their back half again kept the Rangers scoreless.

After the long break there was a more contested game but the Demons kept the momentum going to again keep the Rangers at bay, who failed to add to their half time score as the Demons' back half shut the gate. Wayback had increased their lead to 28 points kicking two goals to go with their two points and had their second shut out on the Rangers, still on their second quarter score of 2-2 (14).

The game had run its race and it was goal-for-goal with both teams kicking two each with Rangers kicking one behind to win the last quarter, Wayback winning by 27 points. The Demons were too good on the day and while plucky and a bit too loose at times the Rangers have a lot of talent.

UNDER 13: Mallee Park 5-7 (37) def Marble Range 0-2 (2)

This match was played in two halves with Mallee Park kicking 4-2 (26) in the first half to the Rangers' one point. The Peckers were on top at the stoppages and with quick clearances in their back half the midfield found a good share of the ball to go forward

There was strong resistance by the Rangers considering the amount of ball won by the Peckers but trailing by 25 points the Rangers simply had to find more of the ball and hit targets forward of the play to get back in the game.

In the second half the Rangers lifted their game and put the brakes on the running Peckers, keeping them to one goal and five points and while the Rangers went forward they could only score one more point in the second half to Peckers who kicked seven points to go with their one goal and ran out winners by 35 points.

For the Peckers Justin Miller with two goals was also busy finding the ball to apply pressure on the Rangers' back half. The Peckers' Robert Varcoe also kicked two goals with Peter Goldsmith kicking one.

Selecting the best for the Peckers one could safely say all players performed and get a big plus for their team work and support around the contest for the hard ball. The Rangers may have been out run when it mattered but they put their heart on their sleeve and stopped many a running rush by the Peckers.

There are a lot of talented players from both clubs. Mallee Park have several well known names with Michael Burgoyne, Daniel McNamara, Jyezaiah Cook, and special mention to Tristan Edwards and Wesley Bilney Jnr.

One is absolutely certain that all that played will go on to play at league level in Port Lincoln and one day will play in the Mortlock Shield.