By Ian Beeck | posted on September 5, 2019
ROYALS are straight through to the 2019 Great Southern Football League Grand Final while the golden era of North Albany was slammed shut by a rampaging Mt Barker at Sounness Park on Sunday.
With driving rain and strong winds, both teams struggled to adapt in the first quarter with Mt Barker going into the first break only a goal up.
But in the second term, the rain held off and the Bulls used the wide flanks to set up play and create the loose man before bombing it forward with the chief beneficiary being Dionne Woods.
The league’s leading goalkicker was too clever in the conditions, even soccering a goal from 5m out as he constantly evaded opponents.
Mt Barker booted five for the quarter to lead at the main break by 29 points.
North Albany came out fired up in the third term and drew within a couple of goals to set up what looked like a thrilling final quarter.
But the Bulls steadied, then piled on four goals to one to win 13.6 (84) to 7.7 (49).
Woods finished with five majors to arguably be the difference between the teams while Tyson Sujdovic and Jesse Wynne kicked three each.
Nic Chidgzey, Lee Pav- lovich, Peter Taylor and Mitch Ballard were instrumental in the victory in what was an overall team effort.
For the Kangas, Joel Coyne and Jacob Hobbs were the only multiple goalscorers with two each, with Nicholas Barrow, Hamish Bigwood, Mitchell Lenegan and Matt Orzel performing admirably.
North Albany have won the past five flags and were aiming to match Royals’ golden run of six successive premierships from 1999-2004.
The Bulls now go onto meet Railways this Sunday at Tigerland after Royals recorded their 13th consecutive victory, winning 12.9 (81) to the Tigers 7.5 (47).
The Lions leapt out of the blocks early, kicking four goals to one in the opening term and were never headed.
After spending the early part of the season in the wilderness, enigmatic big man Taylor Powell has rediscovered his footballing mojo, being the leading goalscorer on the ground with four majors.
Jayson ‘Cyril’ Ford booted three goals before having to leave the ground with a broken nose after a heavy tackle, leaving coach Andrew Ruck seething.
Hamish McMorran becomes more of an imposing figure with every game, Poch Amores is already a star and Jordan Heil continued his impressive season.
For Railways, Logan Stubber kicked two goals while Kenton Gibbs, Shane Braimbridge and Craig Frost were best players.
In the reserves, it was a repeat of the league results with Royals beat- ing Railways by 35 points to advance to the Grand Final, while Mt Barker ended North Albany’s season in a four-point thriller.
In the colts, Railways smashed Royals by 71 points to earn a grand final berth, and Denmark- Walpole kept their season alive beating Albany Sharks by 14 points.