Two Blues exit finals race

A sour taste, coach Brett Dickinson called it.

Bitter even, shattering, no matter what term you use, Sunday’s VAFA Division 1 first semi-final 10 point defeat by UHS-VU was an unbecoming end to a season that promised so much.

Dickinson called it a lost opportunity and so it was.
Going into the game on a nine game winning streak and comprehensive wins in both clashes with UHS-VU during the home and away season, Prahran went into the contest a hot favourite.

But, as we are told time and again, finals are a different ball game.

UHS-VU tackling pressure rating was sky high most of the game, were harder for longer, mentally stronger and simply wanted to win more.

The question is, why?

The Two Blues kicked the first goal through Jesse Waters in the first two minutes,
but after that UHS-VU held sway but 2-2 was a poor conversion rate.

After the arm wrestle of the first quarter the Two Blues took charge with the breeze in the second quarter with goals to Beau Adams, Tom Seaman, Jon Simonetta, Jake Stent-Powell and Daniel Campbell to go to half-time with an 18 point lead.

Two Blues supporters were entitled to believe they would then go on to a win.

Perhaps the players sub consciously thought so, too despite Dickinson's half-time warning UHS-VU were not going away.

But the team that had been so dominant in second halves all season ground to a halt.

One solitary goal for the second half, a very dubious last quarter snap by Adams that clearly clipped the post but was awarded a goal, was never going to cut it.
UHS-VU dominated the clearances most of the day, breaking tackles time and again.

That was the main reason they kicked five unanswered goals after half-time to open a 12 point lead in the last quarter.

But for the outstanding defence work of Jayden Williams and Ben Galbraith the gap would have been much wider.

Even at the end the Two Blues had their chances but Campbell missed a snap from close in and Eddie Espinosa, so reliable in front of goal all season, missed a set shot from 25m out in front.

In the end too much was left to too few.

On reflection the hamstring injury to Shaun Chapman midway through the first quarter was a hammer blow.

His height and strength up forward, attack on the ball and relief ruck work were key to the Two Blues winning streak.

Add that to the fact the co captains and match winners Rory Brodie and James Musster were hampered by injury and below their best in the second half goes a long way to explaining why the Two Blues failed a golden chance to progress to a preliminary final and a chance for premiership glory and promotion to C Grade.

PRAHRAN 1-1 6-3 6-6 7-11 (53)

UHS-VU 2-2 3-3 6-5 9-10 (64)

Goals :B. Adams 2, J. Waters, J. Simonetta, T. Seaman, J. Stent-Powell, D. Campbell
Best :B. Galbraith, Z. Podmore, M. Mayne, J. Musster, J. Williams, M. Clifford