SOMERVILLE will play Rosebud in the Nepean League grand final this Saturday at Frankston Park after bouncing back and beating Sorrento in the Preliminary Final.
The Eagles led all afternoon and finished strongly, booting 3.6 to 1.1 in the last quarter to record an 18-point victory, 11.22 (88) to 10.10 (70).
It was the end of an era for Sorrento. The most powerful team of the past decade failed in its attempt to play in its eighth grand final in a row.
Sorrento also said goodbye to coach Troy Schwarze, who retired at the end of the game according to club president Gary Woodhams. It was the worst kept secret in local footy that Schwarze wouldn’t be at the helm next season.
Regardless, Schwarze led from the front and collected 19 possessions in his final game with the red and white.
Somerville came out and played with an intent and urgency that had been missing in previous weeks.
Despite beating Sorrento two weeks ago in the Qualifying Final, the Eagles looked flat on that occasion and again last week against Rosebud.
However, on Saturday, the Eagles were up and about.
The interesting thing in the Preliminary Final was always going to be about how the Eagles would respond from its trouncing last week (albeit it was only 16 points on the scoreboard).
Its prime movers were well beaten against Rosebud and a few of the big name players failed to fire a shot.
There is no question that they were all keen to prove a point.
Tommy Shaw was super across four quarters and finished the afternoon with three goals. He worked tirelessly around the ground and also spent some time through the middle, which freed him up.
Scott Simpson rose to the challenge and proved that he could use his superior ability to dominate a game. Simpson was sensational in the air, his tackling was a feature and it was great to see him spend time through the middle of the ground also.
Rowan Hogenbirk didn’t start the game overly well, collecting just two touches in the first quarter, however, he willed himself to get into the game and responded with eight touches in the second quarter and 22 for the match. He was the most influential player on the ground.
Tim McGenniss was also incredibly influential, especially in the second and third quarters where he collected 16 possessions. He finished with 24 for the match.
Josh Westerman was a nuisance again and was fantastic as a run with player, while Adrian Speedy had 20 touches too and his drive from half back and through the middle gave his forwards every opportunity.
In defence, the Eagles were rock solid. Without Kane McKenzie, Todd Farrelly shouldered much of the responsibility and kept Myles Pitt goalless.
Ben Sedgewick was also very good for the Eagles in the back half, as was Luke Collie and Jake Wilson, who both beat their opponents.
Justin Farrelly broke even with Sorrento’s Jon Croad in the ruck, which was a great comeback from the skipper after being beaten in the past couple of weeks.
Travis Bravo took a screamer for the second week on the trot and booted two goals.
Players such as Jedd Sutton and Justin Allsop, who were less than ordinary the week before, worked tirelessly on Saturday.
The Eagles came to play and as has been said all season, their best is better than any other team.
Sorrento was far from disgraced.
Luke Tapscott was superb with three goals and 24 possessions, Leigh Treeby wasn’t damaging but had 20 touches after a long lay-off and James Hallahan had 18 possessions.
Myles Poholke and James Brigden are the future of this footy club and their games on Saturday were outstanding.
The Eagles had 33 scoring shots from its 47 inside 50m entries on Saturday. The Sharks had 20 scoring shots from 42 entries. The game was won and lost right there. The Eagles defence was rock solid.
Somerville simply has to bring that same aggression, steely determination and run and carry into this weekend’s Grand Final at Frankston Park.
The best two sides are playing in the Grand Final.
In the reserves, Devon Meadows beat Rosebud in the Preliminary Final on Saturday and will play Somerville in the Grand Final.
In the Under 19s, Rosebud will play Dromana after the Tigers easily accounted for Somerville in the early game.