Barwon Heads have produced a clinical display to defeat Torquay by 35 points in a Qualifying Final at Portarlington. Barwon Heads made 3 changes to the side that defeated Geelong Amateurs in Round 18 – out of the side went Brad Harvey and Wayne Barrett with injury whilst James Wills was dropped. Into the side came Sam Evans and Max Melzer who both returned from injury whilst Logan Mitchell was promoted for his first senior game after strong performances at Reserves level.
Torquay had the breeze in the first quarter and early on there was plenty of finals intensity from both sides as the game was a fierce struggle. A couple of early opportunities were squandered by the Heads until Mitch Phelps the opening goal of the game. Midfielders Ryan Harvey, Logan Mitchell, Mitchell Herbison, Otto Opperman and Ned Aulsebrook were all busy early. Up forward Sam Evans was a great target whilst up back Lachlan Slorach, Zac Walter and Michael Philp were resolute. Torquay were beginning to press and they were able to hit the scoreboard with goals to Jack Heathcote and Callum Currie to establish a 4 point lead at the first break.
Barwon Heads now had the wind and Chris Martin was lively up forward and he kicked consecutive goals. Small forwards Ben Stephens, Luke Michell and Tim Chapman were busy whilst up back Kyle Polley, Damien Horbury and Xavier Everett were solid in defence. Braeden Eddy was starting to have an influence and when Brock Close was on the end of a chain of handballs to goal, the Heads had opened a small break. The Tigers continued to apply a lot of pressure and this was rewarded by a goal to the ever dangerous Paul McMahon. The Heads responded with another great goal by Mitch Phelps to lead by 15 points at the long break.
The third quarter started with Barwon Heads coming out breathing fire and the intensity had certainly lifted. Brock Close kicked his second and Matt Dyer, Jayden McLauchlan, Mitch Herbison and Logan Mitchell continued to have an influence. Max Melzer kicked a long goal and when Otto Opperman kicked his first, the Heads had opened a 5 goal plus lead. The wind had dropped and Torquay would not lay down and they responded like a strong team to kick goals through Tyler Lovell, Callum Currie and Harrison Mackay to reduce the margain to 17 points at three quarter time.
With a spot in the second semi up for grabs, Barwon Heads controlled possession in the final quarter but were unable to take full advantage of this dominance. Zac Walter was in everything but the side continued to miss shots on hail until Mitch Phelps kicked his third goal. Brock Close who had been a key player all day marked and kicked a long goal to secure a very solid victory by 35 points. The Barwon Heads defence which has been outstanding all year continued their miserly attitude by keeping a Torquay goalless in the final quarter.
Barwon Heads 10.17 (77) defeated Torquay 6.6 (42)
GOALKICKERS : Phelps 3, Close 3, Martin 2, Opperman 1, Melzer 1
BEST PLAYERS : Walter, Opperman, Eddy, McLauchlan, Mitchell, Martin
RESERVES WIN THRILLER BY A GOAL
Barwon Heads have won a tough encounter in the Qualifying Final against Modewarre by a goal to advance to a second semi final. In windy conditions and a tight game without flow, the Heads rallied in the second half to play an outstanding quarter against the wind in the third quarter and then opening a 3 goal lead before a late lapse when Modewarre kicked two late goals to reduce the margain to a single goal.
Barwon Heads 6.5 (41) defeated Modewarre 5.5 (35)
GOALKICKERS : Everett 2, Pocock 2, Michell 1, Varsamakis 1
BEST PLAYERS : Pelham, Michell, Everett, Walker, O’Leary, Gaunt
Next Saturday August 31 at Portarlington both Barwon Heads Seniors and Reserves will play in second semi finals in an endeavour to proceed straight into a Grand Final with a week break.
Seniors v Geelong Amateurs – 2.00pm start
Reserves v Torquay – 11.45am start