In a tough contest at Katunga on Saturday the Tungamah Bears dug deep to pull off a 14 point come from behind win and move into their fifth consecutive Picola League Grand Final in two weeks’ time.
From the first bounce it was obvious that this was going to be a fierce contested game and none showed their determination more than Adam Dodd as he constantly attacked the ball as well as dominated the tackle count.
Chris Oliver was doing a great job in the ruck against a tough opponent and the on-ballers in Bodhi Butts, Thomas Wilson, Nick Doyle, Kade Rowe and Travis Hayes were getting the ball into the forward line consistently but accuracy in front of goal was a problem.
Rennie on the other hand couldn’t miss and had six straight by the end of the quarter and a 21 point lead despite goals to Ash Saunders and Dodd for the Bears.
An early goal to Rennie in the second was a worry but then the Tungamah boys really started to lock down and the tackling ferocity went through the roof.
Damian Payne, Dan Clarke and Drew Haebich were more than just solid in defence and Brady Hayes was having a big influence.
Goals to Matt Clark, Jez O’Brien and two to Brent Chapman as well as another to Saunders were a just reward for their teammates work up the field.
A half time deficit of only four points and a very positive vibe in the Bears’ rooms at the main break.
In the second half the Bears continued their relentless attack on the ball and began to run Rennie off their legs.
Jim Irvine was rewarded with a goal for his great efforts all day and Chris Powell was delivering the ball lace out on plenty of occasions.
The backline were resolute in their defence and only allowed one goal past them in the second half, the likes of Jarrod O’Shea, Nick Irvine, Leigh Howroyd and Glenn Dominick have got better as the season has progressed.
The desire and desperation of the whole team was summed up by Travis Hayes when he ran to tackle and deny a certain goal in the Rennie goal square.
A goal after the siren to Rennie saw the Bears run out fourteen point winners in what can only be described as a brilliant team effort in overcoming an early deficit.
No matter who they play in two weeks’ time the Bears are a big chance if they bring the same attitude as this memorable finals victory.
Congratulations to the 4ths and 3rds who set the standard for the day and everyone in the reserves was inspired by your efforts.
The game started as expected with intensity and rotations and moves to create match-up imbalance.
Shepp East took the lead early.
Dan Williams scored at the end of a 50 metre penalty, late in the first for Tungamah’s only goal.
Will Kirchen took some beating in the air and just missed out early with some inaccuracy. In the second he marked and converted.
Stand outs in the first half were those in the back half and those rotating through the middle as the going was tough and fast.
Shepp East again ran and rolled and it took all Tungamah’s effort to keep up.
The third quarter was more even and in some areas the Bears started to get on top.
Kirchen was at the end of a Richardson kick and scored again.
Tungamah did not play at their best and without doubt need to be on their game to beat Shepp East.
The reserves will take another shot at getting to the grand final with a big match against Waaia on Saturday.
Shepp East 14.5.89 def Tungamah 6.9.45.
Goals: Williams, Kirchen (2), Kelly, McMillan
Best from: Richardson, Irvine, Kelly, Whykes, Johnstone, Laity, Williams, Buerkner, Bate and Thompson.
The thirds took on the undefeated Katandra side at Katunga this week, which was always going to be a tough ask.
League medallist Liam Connell showed exactly why he earned that praise, he was dominant in the ruck contests all day.
The onballers Brandon Einsporn, Will Sharp and Tre Johnson worked hard for the footy and won the majority of the clearances.
Tungamah snagged the first 2 goals of the game and the boys knew they were right in this contest.
Katandra fought back in the latter part of the first quarter, Tungamah led 2.1 to 1.2 at the quarter time break.
The Bears’ tackling pressure and desire to find the ball was fantastic to witness.
The backline did very well, led by Angus Heslin on one foot, after a basketball injury earlier in the week, and Jack Clarke who was reliable as ever.
Youngsters Des O’Kane, Oscar Willis, Seth Haebich and Ned Connell also stood tall helping out after playing in the earlier game, with Seth kicking a valuable goal in the second quarter.
At half time Tungamah led 3.2 to 2.4.
Blayze Young-Mail snapped a ripper goal during the third quarter, but Katandra was coming hard.
Wally Thomson showed some of his skills, his run and carry was very important.
The forwards worked hard to try and retain the footy in the forward 50, led by Tom Lidgerwood who took some great marks and used the footy well.
At 3/4 time scores were level. Sidey pleaded with the boys to have a huge crack, as this was their chance to make the grand final.
Katandra took the lead for the first time and Tungamah was 8 points down, but then midway through the last quarter, the boys rallied and had the ball in their forward line for pretty much the last 5 to 10 minutes of the game.
Nick Irvine was back for the last quarter, after playing the first but then resting for the senior game later on, and he kicked truly from 40 metres directly in front of goal.
Still a few points down, the boys had various chances to score but a few kicks out of bounds, and then a few points, the game was level, with little time left on the clock.
Another long kick down towards the goals, saw a rushed behind, which saw Tungamah take the lead, and then the siren sounded about 3 seconds later.
What a win, what a great game of junior footy, played in good spirit.
Tungamah 5.8.38 defeated Katandra 5.7.37.
The young Bears took on the Rennie Hoppers in what turned out to be a thrilling semi-final.
Rennie started well and led from the front, in the second quarter the cubs lifted and wrestled back the momentum but still trailing at half time.
The third quarter continued to be an arm wrestle with the ball moving from one backline to the other.
Tungamah was level pegging with Rennie at three quarter time.
Truey asked the boys to click up another gear and with that the Bears kicked two quick goals and held Rennie goaless which was enough to get them over the line and into the grand final. The boys need to continue this strong style of football going into the big dance.
Tungmah 4.2.26 defeated Rennie 2.2.14
Goal kickers- Jack Costigon 2, Mitch Goldman 1, Ned connell 1