PL Match Reports Preliminary Finals - Men and Women Reserves (with photos)

September 12, 2017 at 3:12 PM

Doncaster Men Grand Final Bound                                             Men’s Premier League

Doncaster’s Premier League Men have made a statement in their two finals over the past fortnight: they are serious premiership material.  The Dons fought one of the tightest finals a fortnight ago, beating Greensborough 3-2, on Saturday they crushed Altona 6-2 in the Preliminary Final.  In the other Preliminary Final Camberwell defeated Powerhouse/St Kilda so it is Camberwell that Doncaster will confront in next Saturday’s Grand Final.

The Qualifying Final against Greensborough was one of the toughest matches of the season, no easy steps but Doncaster won the wrestle.  Saturday’s clash with Altona was more open and attacking; a match where Doncaster capitalised on their opportunities and had the match effectively won within the first five minutes of the second half with a 6-0 lead.  These two finals say plenty of a team that can adapt to what a match requires, make the most of their chances and fight hard all match.

The opening five minutes of Saturday’s Preliminary saw most of the match swing between the two 25 metre lines, neither side was prepared to give up any possession and deep thrusts were rare.  At the six minute mark Doncaster’s Lachie McGowan pushed the ball from defence to Jay Randhawa who pushed deep passing to Luke Evered.  Evered pushed into the circle and his shot hit the Altona keeper but off his pad and into the goal; Doncaster had made the most of a half chance and were on the board.


Luke Evered scored Doncaster's first goal and proved a handful for Altona all match

Photo courtesy Nathan Collier

Just five minutes later and Josh Simmonds’ toss of the ball from the back half gave Ross Gilham-Jones enough space to push into the circle and a high defensive ball by Altona set up the first short corner of the match.  Simmonds made the most of the opportunity and his drag flick passed the keeper’s should and into the net.

Altona could see they had to boost their attack and not only held the ball well they pushed deeper, peppering away at their circle.  Doncaster’s last line lead by Simmonds, Hayden Currie and McGowan were equal to the Seagulls’ effort.  Russell Ford and Andrew Scheele were also very effective in the mid-field.


Hayden Currie was an important part of Doncaster's outstanding backline

Photo courtesy Nathan Collier

At the 15 minute mark Kiran Arunasalam intercepted an Altona defensive pass and his brilliant pass to Gilham-Jones put him one-on-one with the keeper which Gilham-Jones won and Doncaster were now 3-0 up.


Ross Gilham-Jones' spectacular diving shot puts Doncaster's third goal on the board

Photo courtesy Nathan Collier

Altona simply increased their effort to attack at every opportunity as the scoreboard said it all: they must get on the board or this would be out of control.  The match opened up and where the ball had been fought between the 25 metre lines it was now pushed deeper.

Doncaster took more control in the early minutes of the second half letting Altona know that a three goal deficit was tough.  But not only were Doncaster in better control, they always looked for half chances.  Ford pushed into the circle and along the baseline drew defenders to him.  Ford then passed to Arunasalam right in front of the net and he put Doncaster’s fourth on the board.


Russell Ford helped open the door for two goals early in the second half

Photo courtesy Nathan Collier

One minute later and Simmonds combined well with Arunasalam who went into the circle and from a tight angle near the baseline scored Doncaster’s fifth goal.


Kiran Arunasalam scored two of Doncaster's early goals in the second half

Photo courtesy Nathan Collier

Just another minute later and Ford was once again in the circle drawing defenders.  Ford passed to Randhawa who passed to Bevan Fernandes and his shot was saved.  But Gilham-Jones pounced on the ball and Doncaster were now in front 6-0.


Jay Randhawa was very busy in defence and in attack

Photo courtesy Nathan Collier

While there was thirty minutes to play, given how the match had evolved, this was game over.  In fact, it took Altona another eight minutes before they realigned themselves to attack with any purpose.

Altona did restored their confidence and made every effort to score but it wasn’t until the 19 minute mark until an intercept in Doncaster’s defensive zone resulted in Altona’s first goal.  Not until there was just eight minutes to play did a trying Altona score their second goal.

Doncaster 6 defeated Altona 2

Goals: Kiran Arunasalam 2, Ross Gilham-Jones 2, Josh Simmonds, Like Evered

Best Players: Andrew Scheele, Hayden Currie, Luke Evered

A version of this match report is published in the Manningham Leader newspaper.  You can see this report in the online version of the Manningham Leader on page 64.

Women’s Reserves in charge and off to the Granny

Women’s Premier League Reserves

Doncaster’s Premier League Women Reserves kept a cool mind to a tough Preliminary Final on Saturday, controlling much of the match and beating Essendon 2-0.  The Doncaster Reserves now turn to next Saturday’s Grand Final.

The Preliminary was a dour contest with both sides defending very well and offering no easy passages into attack.  Doncaster’s Chloe Burns, Fiona Adams and Aimee Dickson were a solid wall and despite what Essendon pushed their way, the ball was sent back.

Heidi Erasmus, Mikala Burchall and Emma Sampson certainly won their share of contests in the mid-field as this match became a wrestle.  When Doncaster pushed forward, Manisha Arunasalam, Zoe Yole and Jenna Weingartner were a handful for the Bombers backline and to their credit the net was kept clean.

With just two minutes until the long break, Essendon’s fast break had Doncaster keeper Lisa Blake in trouble but Blake’s save was outstanding and she pushed the ball out of the circle.  Emma Sampson quickly turned the ball goalward with a long pass that was trapped by Sarah Hobson.  Hobson beat her defender pushed into the circle and slotted the first goal of a tight match.

Essendon took the break to put Doncaster’s goal into perspective and as tight as this final had been, the Bombers knew they had to get on the board.  Where Doncaster controlled a lot of the first half, Essendon took more control in the second half.  Doncaster had offered nothing easy early and that continued, the Dons backline was outstanding.

As the clock ticked away Essendon threw caution to the wind and pushed into their circle even if Doncaster were in control across the last line.  But short corners did fall the Bombers way and Blake led her battery brilliantly keeping the ball out.

With just 11 minutes remaining, it was Doncaster’s turn peppering away at the circle and a short corner went the Dons way.  The first corner was saved by the Bombers but another foot set up a second.  Heidi Erasmus’ pass to sister Louise was spot on and Louise’s shot went dangerously toward goal.  Nicole Julian deflected the ball into the narrowest of gaps and Doncaster had their second goal on the board.

Cool and calm, the Dons absorbed everything the Bombers threw at them and 2-0 would remain at full time.  Now the Dons need to stay just as cool and calm and go into the Grand Final with the same temperament they have shown in their two finals to date.

Doncaster 2 defeated Essendon

Goals: Sarah Hobson, Nicole Julian