Woodsmen lock in finals with 6th straight win
The Woodsmen took on a rampant Jimboomba side searching for their 10th straight win on Friday night and maintained top spot on the ladder with a hard fought 7 point win.
In what was expected to be a hard fought battle, the Woodsmen again came out strong to kick half their score in the first quarter, a trend suggesting that fitness could be an issue!
After taking a solid lead at quarter time, the Woodies went to sleep in the 2nd quarter and Jimboomba fought back well to close the margin to 3 points at half time. The Woodies were well on top in the midfield lead by a vintage display from Chris Judson, while Andrew Thomson and Tim Green battled hard as a combination against easily the best ruckman in the competition. Mitch Merritt was also a terrier around the contest, injecting himself into the game when the Woodies looked down and were getting beaten around the ball for a brief period, to win several contests and drive the ball forward at crucial times. Despite a goal less quarter from the Woodies, maintaining a half-time lead was a strong mental edge doing into the break after a terrible quarter of footy.
Spearhead Matt Hockley received close attention from at least 2 opponents for most of the night and as a result wasn't able to trouble the scorers, but his work-rate and ability to find teammates in space and regularly bring the ball to ground was crucial up forward for the Woodsmen. Continually presenting up the ground despite carrying 2 opponents on his back was a great example of team football from the experienced leader.
The opening 15 minutes of the 3rd quarter proved to be a slugfest with plenty of repeat stoppages and exceptional tackling pressure from both sides. Initially the Woodies failed to take their chances, kicking 4 straight behinds before a goal from the Redbacks put them in front for the first time since early in the 1st quarter. However, the Woodsmen responded late with 2 quick goals to livewire goalsneak Sam 'Irish' Banim who when he is available, significantly alters the Magpies attacking 50 with his speed, agility, pressure and goal sense.
A solid 3rd term with 6 scoring shots to 1 could have opened up a bigger lead, but the Woodies were only able to take an 11 point lead into the final break, and with Scott Matthews going down before half-time with a hamstring and some niggles in 3 or 4 more players including Will Lloyd suffering from a virus - the Woodies would have to tough it out.
Sure enough, Jimboomba kicked the opening goal of the final quarter to close the gap before another goal from Sam Banim extended the lead enough that the redbacks would require 2 goals to win it. the Redbacks responded with a quick goal of their own thanks to some brilliant rebounding play off half back before a rushed kick out of a contest resulted in a mark to the Redbacks 35m out directly in front to put them in front with a few minutes left. Despite having 4 goals on the board, the pressure got to him and he missed with the Woodsmen then able to work the ball forward patiently to create another opportunity up forward where Banim again pounced to kick the sealer.
The win puts the Woodsmen 2 games clear on top of the ladder and they mathematically can't miss finals and will host at least one home final after winning 6 straight. They travel to defending Premiers and 2nd placed Zillmere this Friday and a win will ensure top spot is secure.
Woodsmen 8.8 - 56 defeated Jimboomba Redbacks 7.7 - 49
Best: Judson, Thomson, Banim, Roderick, Jackson, Mihalopoulous
Goals: Banim 4, Baldwin 2, Davis, Mihalopoulous 1