WEST KIMBERLEY FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
The Bidyadanga Emus are this years WKFL Belt Up Cup Premiers. The Emus prevailed in a gripping match to deny a gallant Towns their third successive flag.
Haynes oval erupted in a sea of gold and black as the final siren rang and hundreds of jubilant Emus fans charged on to the field to embrace their heroes . Virtually the whole Bidyadanga community mobbed the triumphant players to share in only the clubs second premiership win.
The fans had endured a nailbiting two hours of football in which the result was up for grabs until the dying minute. When the final siren sounded the Emus had ran out victors 5.12 42 to Towns 4.14 38.
It was an epic finals clash between two sides that have made heartstopping finishes a feature in recent times. It was goal for goal and point for point all day as the two best sides in the West Kimberley threw everything they had into the game. At no stage did either side lead by any more than eight points as both teams applied relentless pressure. In contrast with last seasons feast of goals in the final the teams struggled to penetrate the others defence. Despite the low scoring the huge crowd remained enthralled throughout the game.
The match was defined by the absolute commitment of every player to win each and every contest for their team..
The game started with the Emus kicking with a slight wind advantage and many thought that the Emus could have paid a heavy toll for their inept kicking as Bruce Bungs goal was the only major from seven scoring shots in the term. Towns responded to that goal via a clever snap across his body from Adrian Conroy and at quarter time the Emus held but a four point lead.
. The highlight of the second quarter was a solo effort by Nathan Thomas who kicked a 40 metre left foot snap from the boundary after taking two bounces and being tackled as he kicked the ball. The effort breathed inspiration back into the Emus who looked to be struggling to run with Towns in the ten minutes before half time. Joe Sara, Adrian Conroy and Daryl Ralph were winning plenty of ball for their team but their forwards failed to take their opportunities in front of goal with several set shots sailing wide. The Towns could have added 6.2 instead of 2.6 for the quarter and as it was they took only a one point advantage into the long break.
The Emus came out rejuvenated after half time and dominated the third quarter but again failed to capitalise on their scoring opportunities. Their only goal for the quarter came from another Nathan Thomas snap and Bart Matthews goal late in the quarter meant that Towns trailed by only one point at the final change.
In a desperate last quarter with players rousing their exhausted bodies for a final assault the atmosphere was electric. Player of the match and McMahon medallist Shannon Arrow was absolutely sensational taking several marks across half back including one spectacular mark high above the pack. Michael Hunter goaled for the Emus early in the quarter to give the Emus an eight point break. Towns tried desperately to lift but could not find the major opening as attempts at goal were marked in the last line or the ball rushed through for behinds. Towns could only manage four behinds for the quarter and when the final siren sounded the Emus had got home by four points.
The celebration that followed was memorable to say the least as the exultant Emus fans roared their approval for their heroes as they received their medals. The loudest cheers were for long term coach John Thomas who has been at the helm of the club for over ten years, many of them spent struggling at the bottom of the ladder. It was also a fitting reward for Wayne Edgar and Gordy King who both played in the Emus 1990 premiership win and had been instrumental in holding the club together through the last decade.
The great respect that these rivals hold for each other was evidenced by the post match speeches of Graham Hastie and John Thomas whose sportsmanship echoed the terrific spirit in which the game was played.
First and Second Semi Finals
How it Happened in Semi Finals
Emus 1.0 4.2 7.4 8.5 53
Towns 1.4 3.6 4.8 7.10 52
Best; Emus Brendan Thomas, Dominic Sampi, Wayne Edgar, Marcus Nanudie, Clive Cheinmora.Towns Paul Brown, Brendan Buitenhuis Leith Barnes Joe Sara Clint Bell
Major Goalkickers Emus: Dominic Sampi 3 Nathan Thomas 2Towns Paul Brown 5
This was one of the great finals of recent years with Emus prevailing by a solitary point. Thre game was highlighted by some fine marking and some excellent goalkicking by Dominic Sampi and Paul Brown. The Emus got the vital break in the third quarter and looked to have the game under control until the last ten minutes when Towns lifted and threatened to overrun the Emus. Towns blues were compounded with injuries to Hutton, Dick and Conroy. The Emus meanwhile rest today and they will be hoping for a bruising preliminary final today.
Towns win Preliminary
Towns 1.1 6.2 6.2 8.3 51
Bulls 2.1 2.1 3.4 6.4 40
Best: Towns: Clinton Bell, Trevor Craig, Brendan Buitenhuis, Daryl Ralph, Joe Sara. Bulls: Matt Varney, Mark Chadwick Cliff Galliers, Brad Howard, Steve Valli
Goalkickers : Towns; Paul Brown 2, Leith Barnes, Francis Bodey, Matt Martinovich, Brendan Buitenhuis, Nathan Beck 1. Bulls: Ben Stringer 4,Cliff Galliers, Steve Thompson 1.
Towns, despite missing a couple of on field leaders had all the answers as they completely shut down any midfield run from the Bulls. It was not a pretty game3 but whatever highlights there were belonged to Towns who broke the game apart with a dominant second quarter. Towns were first to the ball all day with conroy and Craig leading the way with their in and under play. Buitenhuis also played asolid four quarters in an ominous workout before todays big game.
Bulls 4.1 4.3 8.6 11.10 76
Saints 2.0 4.2 5.3 6.3 39
Best players. Bulls Aaron Woodley, Brad Howard, Chris Power, Josh Mongoo, Steve Thompson. Saints. Waylon Pigram, Lloyd Pigram, Brad Tolentino, Duane Tang Wei.
Major Goalkickers. Bulls: Aaron Woodley 6,Ben Stringer 2. Saints. Francis Lane 2,Nathan Pigram 2.
Bulls started well kicking the first three goals before Saints got their running game going to level the game by half time. The Bulls however came out firing and their taller timber took control especially on their forward line. The Bulls were well served by their midfielders in Brad howard and Steve Thompson whilst Aaron Woodleys 6 goal haul was a great return. The Saints were in it till half time and Waylon Pigram and Lloyd Pigram played their hearts out. The Bulls will gain a lot of confidence from the win And wqill be hard to hold out today.