SKOB have marched into the Premier Division Preliminary final following a dominant win over Collegians at Elsternwick Park this afternoon. In bleak, cold and slippery conditions, SKOB were able to handle the going better and were too strong for Collegians on the day. Coming in to the game on the back of some recent shaky form, SKOB showed no ill effects as they went about playing a finals brand of football from the get go.
As the rain tumbled down approaching start time, both sides would have known that this tough encounter would surely now become more of a scrap, with the most determined and hard at it side being the likely winner in these conditions. The breeze was blowing across the ground and most of the play was consigned to the far side of the ground where only the most hardy fans were gathered. SKOB were kicking to the Glenhuntly Rd end and started brightly despite the steady rain. The ball was parked in their forward line for most of the opening term but for all their dominance, all SKOB could boast from the opening 10 minutes was a couple of scrappy behinds. Then Cam Hodges ran onto a knock over the back and waltzed in for the game’s first goal. Mitch Brown was front and centre to crumb a great goal shortly afterward and SKOB were away. From then it was fairly even with both sides enjoying moments. Billy Kanakis snapped a beauty that sailed in perfectly on the fluky breeze, but Collegians also were able to kick a clever goal from the pocket and at quarter time SKOB were up 4 goals to 2.
The rain eased a little after the first change but the ground was now very slippery and skills were blunted somewhat. Jack Holden somehow found himself alone in the goalsquare and dobbed an early one to consolidate SKOB’s early game momentum. From then on the game became very dour as both sides struggled to find a way forward and the ball spent great periods of time out on the far side of the ground. Late in the quarter it was Cal Jones who won a free kick and helicoptered one through from the pocket to give SKOB some decent breathing space at the half. They were now up 6.6 to 2.7 and as the chilly fans sought refuge at the Elsternwick Hotel for warmth and a chance to sip from the Masters Premiership cup, there was an air of confidence as to how this game was going to go.
In the third term it was Jarrad Waite who took the game by the scruff of the neck and decided to put the result to bed. In a dominant performance he booted three goals for the term and basically shot to pieces any hope of a Collegians fight back. Helped on by his forward partner Shaun Kennedy who also booted one, they put the sword to the Lions and made sure that SKOBs season would extend at least another week. Cam Hodges and Billy Lloyd were dominating for SKOB and relishing the tough in and under conditions. By the final change, it was looking all SKOB, but fans would not need any reminding that in recent encounters Collegians have been known to come back in finals from seemingly helpless positions.
Booting an early one would help calm the nerves of Mr September and Mr 3/4 Time on the SKOB Hill at the Golf Course end and Mitch Brown obliged when he all but stumbled one home to put an and to any thought of a Collegians miracle. They did have the better of the scoring in the final quarter, but by then the sting was totally out of the game and besides, Sam Critchley and Billy Coates were marking everything and making life just that little more frustrating for the men in Purple. With respect to the opposition they fought it right out and made SKOB work hard for their victory, but SKOB were clearly deserved winners on the day.
They will now go on to the Preliminary Final next Sunday against Old Xavs who went down in a close Semi to Uni Blues yesterday. Having squared the ledger 1-1 during the season and with everything again on the line next week, you can expect this game to be an absolute monster clash. Stay tuned for updates through the week.
SKOB 11.7.73 Collegians 5.12.42 Goal Kickers: J. Waite 3 B Kanakis 2 M Brown 2 C. Jones, C Hodges, S. Kennedy, J Holden Best Players: C. Hodges, B Lloyd, J Waite, M Brown, P. Edgar, S Critchley