Accuracy in front of goals and some strong on-balling helped the Eden Whalers to a win over Pambula.
Contesting the preliminary final against the Pathers at Berrambool on Saturday, Eden were contained for a good portion of the game, but were devastating when they broke free.
The Whalers burst free of their Pambula constraints to win the match 3-6-24 to 2-8-20.
In early passages of play, the Panthers had looked dangerous, using speed through Lee Collimore and good contests in the air from Romy Cook to keep possession in Eden’s defensive zone.
However, immense defence from the Whalers ensured the Panthers couldn’t pile on a significant score.
Tammy Whitford, Hayley Spink, Carra Sheldon and Tyler Crowe had been pivotal in Eden’s defensive efforts, contesting the ball well to shut down the Pambula attack.
Inaccuracy also hurt the Panthers, who piled on eight behinds in the first two quarters with a few kicks fading wide or being batted through by the Eden defence to keep the margin down.
Play was clustered heavily around the Eden goal square as the Panthers rallied to keep Eden in.
However, because of the cluttered nature, when the Whalers broke loose, the were able to launch incredible attacking runs in free space.
After trailing 12-4 to the Panthers at the main break, the Whalers turned on and took charge of the game.
They launched into dominant sweeping plays that carried the length of the field in the third quarter saw the Whalers surging back to the front with three quick goals.
Kamilla Grubesic at full forward slotted one, while Kate Mitchell and Maggie Brown each kicked a six-pointer.
The Panthers did find two goals with one in the first quarter and another in the last quarter with Madi Whatman and Emmily Yeoman putting their names to it.
However, Eden’s surge in the third quarter had proved too damaging on the scoreboard.taking back the lead at three quarters and defending in the fourth.
The team is now looking forward to a rematch with the Tathra Sea Eaglettes and a chance to defend their 2016 premiership flag.
The Whalers had been hindered by some niggling injuries, but will use the week in recovery and be fresh to meet Tathra in the grand final on Saturday.
The Sapphire Coast AFL grand final will be held at the Pambula Sporting Complex, with the women’s match to run at 1.10pm.