Lions win thrilling second semifinal in the wet

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Royals' Ben Altus kicks down field.
Camera IconRoyals' Ben Altus kicks down field. Credit: Laurie Benson

A late Royals goal in the dying minutes has helped the Lions directly qualify for the sixteens grand final after an exciting first week of the Great Southern Football League finals was played at the weekend.

In heavy conditions and with constant rain falling, the Lions came from behind at three-quarter-time on Saturday at Tigerland to defeat Albany by eight points in the second semifinal.

The Sharks trailed at quarter-time and half-time, but booted four majors in the third term as they hit the front on the back of strong work from key pair Kya Faulkner and Max Baker.

After finishing the regular season on top of the ladder with only one loss to their name, the Lions fought back strongly in the slippery conditions as they booted three goals to win to claim a thrilling victory, 10.6 (66) to 9.4 (58).

Dane Paunich was terrific and kicked two vital goals for the winners, while the efforts of Tyreice Brown and Carson Flower also helped the Lions get over the line and secure a grand final berth.

Royals' Deacon Wynne is taken to ground by Albany's Joshua Crook and Sean Keightley.
Camera IconRoyals' Deacon Wynne is taken to ground by Albany's Joshua Crook and Sean Keightley. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Faulkner and Baker continued their outstanding seasons in the loss, with the latter kicking three goals.

North Albany caused an upset in the sixteens first semifinal at Sounness Park on Sunday, holding Railways scoreless after half-time to win by 32 points.

The Kangas had not beaten the Tigers during the regular season, but led by defender Heath Spinks and captain Lachlan Hansen, they kicked five goals to nil in the last half to win comfortably, 7.6 (48) to 2.4 (16).

The Tigers managed to progress to the preliminary final in both the colts and reserves, however, after they both won their respective first semifinals on Sunday.

It was an impressive display from the Tigers’ colts side as they piled on eight goals in the first term on their way to a dominant 96-point win over Mt Barker, while the reserves shrugged off a strong challenge from the Bulls to run out 23-point winners.

The Sharks colts were the first team through to the grand final after overcoming the Lions by 16 points as rain poured throughout Saturday’s second semifinal.

Albany's Brock Anning attempts to smother Royals' Nic Finlay.
Camera IconAlbany's Brock Anning attempts to smother Royals' Nic Finlay. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Brock Anning and the Alforque brothers, Henry and Henrick, were terrific for the winners.

The Lions’ reserves also progressed straight through to the decider after downing the Kangas in a low-scoring second semifinal by 23 points.

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