Woods’ seven ends Lions’ season
Mt Barker’s belief they can end a 22-year premiership drought is likely to rest with their potent forward line, which proved decisive in their elimination semifinal win over Royals on Sunday.
The Bulls will take on reigning premiers North Albany in the preliminary final after ending the Lions’ season with a hard-fought 38-point win at Sounness Park, underlined by seven brilliant goals from veteran Dionne Woods.
The Bulls were forced to arrest the momentum from the fast-starting Lions and held firm against two significant second-half challenges to keep their premiership hopes alive, winning 19.9 (123) to 13.7 (85).
The Lions led by 19 points in the second term but athletic big men Daniel Henderson and Jordon Reid, and the grunt of midfielder Darren Humble, helped swing the contest.
Journeyman Woods was at his elusive best, booting three decisive goals in the second quarter as the Bulls kicked nine of the next 11 majors either side of the main break.
The margin reached five goals as the quarter ticked into time-on but the Lions, through Andrew Ruck and Corey Ward, booted the final two goals of the term to trim the margin to 18 points at the final change.
Ward again goaled to start the final term before the Bulls steadied, denying the visitors back-to-back majors.
Woods again bobbed up when required, booting three more goals at the town end of the ground, with the Lions having no answer to his match-winning seven-goal haul.
The influence of the dangerous Kym Monteath also grew as the game wore on, with the sharpshooter finishing with four goals.
Woods, along with midfielders Humble and captain Peter Taylor, shone while the Lions were best served by the enigmatic Sam Baddeley-Holmes (two goals), Ward (three goals) and Michael McGlade through the midfield.
Baddeley-Holmes had only played one league and four reserves matches this season but provided the X-factor with two impressive goals in the opening term and gave the Lions a spark when he went into the ruck in the second half. Bulls coach Brad Hook was full of praise for Woods’ performance.
“He’s been telling me all year he’s a forward and I’ve been playing him back,” Hook said.
“It’s only been the last month we have snuck him forward and gee, he’s kicked some goals.
“We responded well and got the game settled and a bit more on our terms.
“It was a huge day for the club today.
“We should have won today and we have, so it’s back to another prelim.”
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