Tigers roar into WB grand final

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Tigers roar into WB grand final

A Grade

North Gambier has held on in a remarkable preliminary final which sees the Tigers progress to the 2023 Western Border grand final with a big upset win over West Gambier.

North Gambier led all match but a resilient West Gambier refused to give up and pushed North Gambier right to the final siren with the final score finishing West Gambier 42 (6.6) to North Gambier 48 (7.6).

West Gambier went into the match with a big out with coach and 2023 Brian Hennessy Western Border best and fairest Daron McElroy missing due to injury, a loss that proved to be a massive blow to the Roos.

West Gambier were heavy favourites going in having yet to lose to North Gambier from the two sides’ three matches this season.

The match kicked off with North Gambier taking the lead in the first quarter, with the first goal coming from a Sam Stafford bomb from the 50, Stafford’s match up with Lewis Lean would be an important battle for the match.

The ever-reliable Jake Shultz was rock solid in defence, winning the ball getting it back into a North Gambier attack, while Aden Pfitzner was a shining light for West Gambier early moving the ball well through the midfield.

North Gambier finished the first quarter with the lead scoring 25, while West Gambier managed 15, with inaccuracy in front of goal costing the Roos early.

In the second quarter both sides’ defences ruled the quarter in extreme wet conditions, with North Gambier’s Cameron Ortlepp and West Gambier’s Tre Davis performances highlights for their respective sides.

West Gambier added a single behind to its score which would be the only point scored for the quarter with North Gambier remaining scoreless.

North Gambier went into half time with a handy nine point lead over the minor premiers.

North Gambier started the third quarter with some wayward kicking, however the experienced Justin McConnell steadied the ship with the first goal of the third term to extend the Tigers’ lead to 19 points.

West Gambier responded instantaneously with thanks to an excellent Andrew Stone centre clearance and a brilliant long range kick from Ben Papps.

West Gambier finished the quarter still trailing at 22 (3.4) to North Gambier’s 36 (5.6).

In the final quarter, West Gambier pushed hard to close the gap, Kyle Giddings took a set shot to lower North Gambier’s lead to seven points before a rushed behind meant that a goal was needed to send the match into extra time.

Aden Pfitzner sent a long bomb into West Gambier’s fifty for one last roll of the dice however North Gambier’s defence won a ball up.

The siren sounded immediately after sending North Gambier through to the grand final and ending West Gambier’s terrific 2023 season in a disappointing manner.

For West Gambier, Kyle Giddings, Andrew Stone, Thomas Holmes, Tre Davis, Lawrence Bradley-Brown and Lewis Lean were the best players.

Meanwhile, North Gambier’s standout players included Nick McInerney, Brett Shepherdson, Jake Schutz, Cameron Ortlepp, Mackye Baron and Jordan Hollitt.

North Gambier will now look to next week knowing full well the task at hand of taking down Millicent in what will be an enthralling grand final.

Reserves

West Gambier has booked a date with Millicent in the grand final next week with a preliminary final win over East Gambier at McDonald Park.

West Gambier went into the match heavy favourites having won the minor premiership and having East Gambier not got within fifty points of the Roos in the two sides previous three encounters during the minor rounds.

The pressure of being favourites did not seem to affect West Gambier as the side lead from the first quarter and did not look back.

At half time the match was still in the balance with West Gambier only 18 points in front, and in the second half the Roos would run away with the match.

East Gambier would put up a good fight but fall short as West Gambier finished 28 point winners.

West Gambier will now take Millicent on in the grand final in a match-up that will take the game right down to the wire.

Under 18

North Gambier is through to the Under 18s grand final for the second season in a row after comfortably beating West Gambier in the preliminary final.

North Gambier finished second on the ladder and suffered a defeat in the second semi final to South Gambier.

West Gambier went past Millicent to keep its season alive and standing in its way of a grand final was the Tigers.

And on the day the Tigers were too strong with a massive 32 point lead at quarter time North Gambier did not give the Roos an Inch and would finish the match 76 point winners.

North Gambier will now focus on going one step further than last season and beating South Gambier on the big day.

Under 16

Millicent have gone through to the grand final with a win over West Gambier on the weekend.

Millicent started off on the wrong foot giving up a 18 point lead at quarter time, the Saints would show fight and work its way back into the match closing the gap four points at halftime.

From there Millicent would control the rest of the match and would win by 19 points.

West Gambier will be disappointed but pleased to get so far and challenge Millicent.

Harrison Thwaites was a standout for Millicent playing a crucial role in getting his side through to the decider.

Millicent will now prepare to take on South Gambier who have been undefeated all season.

Under 14

North Gambier will take on South Gambier in the Under 14s grand final after a big win over Millicent in the preliminary final on Saturday.

Millicent could not keep up with North Gambier who proved too good.

The Tigers led at every break and would eventually win by 59 points, with the final scores North Gambier 61 to Millicent 2.

League Best and Fairest winner Sam Baron was exceptional for North Gambier being named best on ground and kicking two majors.

Lenny Tunkin was the best player for Millicent on a tough day for the side.

North Gambier will now face South Gambier, a side the Tigers are yet to beat this season, but anything can happen on grand final day.

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