THE NAROOMA Lions will enter the second round of the SCAFL finals series with two hopes remaining for their first premiership flag in 17 years. Both the U15s and Development grade (Reserves) are still alive.
It would seem most likely that the young guns of the U15s will be the Club’s drought breakers. The young Lions enter a week off, having taken a direct route to the grand final by smashing top side, Pambula Panthers in enemy territory on Saturday.
The efforts of Narooma’s young men on Saturday were testament to the impressive stewardship of SCAFL Junior Coach of the Year, Mick Clothier. The way the boys linked seamlessly, with precise handballing through the centre of the ground, displayed the quality of the drills they have learnt this year under Clothier. In addition to this year’s skill and tactical improvements is the development of confidence amongst the players. Clothier’s young men know they can play and will tackle their Grand Final opponents without fear.
In Saturday’s big win against the Panthers Jackson Taylor, Jai Reid, Logan Sydenham, Luke Wiggins and Zak Wilson starred. It was the team-wide attitude on the day however that catapulted the Under 15s into the 2013 Grand Final. Wiggins finished the match with 6 goals.
For the Reserves it was a contrasting result and they face a determined Bega Bombers, whom they must now beat in Pambula this Saturday to make the Grand Final. The Lions lost to top side, Tathra Seahawks last Saturday at the same ground and looked tired during the game. A win in that match would have given them the break they so much needed after a long season of large fields and reduced team sizes. Bruce Day’s boys will be eager to win on Saturday and use their success as a launching pad for a much needed improved showing against Pambula in the grand final.
The season has ended for the Lions’ seniors and Under 12s, both of which strived, throughout the season under difficult circumstances. Credit must go to Julian Nimmo for guiding the seniors to the Finals after the club was unable to enter a team at this level of competition in 2012.
Lawrie Hodgson should also be praised having guided his Under 12s well, mentally through a year of wavering competition age categorisation and numerous losses. The young men remained focussed and dedicated throughout the whole season.
For the outgoing seniors, their season played out like the proverbial rollercoaster, with the side’s strength, week by week being largely dictated by player availability. After winning their first four matches, the side became plagued with an inconsistent player line-up and, in Round 12 felt the pain of poor availability in the form of a 246 point loss to Tathra. Turning this result into a 240 point victory in their following week’s match against the Eden Whalers was a season highlight and showed the potential of the side at a greater level of strength.
The Lions, once again cut down by player availability were credible in restricting the Merimbula Diggers to only 114 points in their Semi Final on Sunday. The score line could have certainly ended up messy however the Lions gave their best effort.
The Under 12s, who lost to Pambula in last Saturdays Semi Final will return in 2014 significantly stronger. With the average age of their players being under 10 years old in 2013, they will return older, more developed and will have team chemistry developed from a year of fighting together, through a number of tough challenges. Players, Brandon Feledyk, Chenoa Lyons, Rory Spurgeon and Tom Hodge excelled in 2013 amongst a whole team of committed youngsters who performed well beyond their years.
The final scores for the weekend’s games were: Under 12s – Panthers 12-9-81 defeated Lions 5-4-34; Under 15s – Panthers 2-1-13 defeated by Lions 13-10-88; Reserves – Seahawks 13-9-87 defeated Lions 3-3-21; and seniors – Panthers 17-12-114 defeated Lions 6-11-47.
The Lions have issued a call for all eligible Reserves players to get to Tuesday’s and Thursday’s training sessions throughout the remainder of the finals series. The side needs a big improvement in fitness and team cohesion and the club would like as many players as possible to select from. Seniors players are also encouraged to attend training, despite their season being over, to help with the Reserve’s push for a premiership.
Sapphire Coast AFL
Elimination final results
Pambula 17 – 12 – 114 d Narooma 6 – 11 - 47
Bega 10 – 7 – 67 d Diggers 1 – 7 - 13
Diggers 22 – 18 – 150 d Bermagui 2 – 0 - 12
Pambula 12 – 9 – 81 d Narooma 5 – 4 – 34
Qualifying final results
Tathra 21 – 13 – 139 d Diggers 11 – 8 - 74
Tathra 13 – 9 – 87 d Narooma 3 – 3 - 21
Narooma 13 – 10 – 88 d Pambula 2 – 1 - 13
Diggers 13 – 1 – 79 d Bermagui 1 – 4 - 10