Oakleigh charges into Grand Final with 93-point victory over Gippsland

OAKLEIGH Chargers have won their third consecutive game by 15 goals or more with a 93-point thrashing of second-placed Gippsland Power. The Chargers were all over the Power from start to finish and never realistically looked like losing. Their ball use in the wet was superb

It was a sense of deja vu for the crowd from the week before, as Oakleigh’s Matt Rowell put the ball through the big sticks and got the first major on the board with a running shot – slightly different to his set shot against Western the week before, but nonetheless, he was the first key scorer. Gippsland was sanding strong with a couple of important inside 50s, with a couple of opportunities but could not convert, and it was six-goal hero from last week, Dylan Williams who made it two for the Chargers with a great goal off a couple of steps.

A piece of class from Atu Bosenavulagi saw him centre into the middle to hit-up Noah Answerth on the 50m line. The subsequent 60m roost from Answerth sailed through and got the Chargers up and about. Then when Jake Gasper kicked one through the middle, the danger signs were there for the Power, as Oakleigh moved 25 points up. The third member of Oakleigh’s version of the Holy Trinity – Noah Anderson – used some terrific soccer skills to boot the ball off the ground in the wet to sail one home for the Chargers’ fifth.

Rowell almost had a second goal on the run but it just missed to the left. Oakleigh’s passing in horrible conditions was a treat, with a superb pass from Trent Bianco off half-back to Gasper in midfield one of the top kicks of the day. The play from end-to-end lead to a shot on goal to Charlie Whitehead after a strong tackle, but his set shot also drifted to the left.

Gippsland came out with a better intensity early, with Austin Hodge having a set shot but just missing early. Noah Gown took a huge one-on-one mark on the lead against Will Kelly, clunking a big grab despite Kelly’s pressure. His shot just missed to the left, with Gippsland ruing a few missed opportunities. Sam Flanders laid a big tackle at half-back to earn a free in a second term derived of highlights. Gippsland had stemmed the flow, but neither side could hit the scoreboard.

Then, just as it looked like they were struggling to find a way to press on, Williams went bang, bang and booted two majors in the space of a minute. First he got goal side of his opponent and ran into an easy major, then outmarked his opponent and snapped it round to give the Chargers two quick replies and extend the margin out to 45. Williams piled on some more pain as Oakleigh ran the length of the ground from half-back and the small forward made it four with three consecutive goals, receiving the handball on the line, turning around and kicked it from point blank to push it past 50. A minute later, Gasper conquered up an amazing snap from the pocket bouncing its way through and making it a whopping 57 points.

While a few positional changes from the Power hoped to bring on some better news in the second half, it was a perfect kick from Will Golds to the leading Matthew Day, adding his name to the goal kickers chart. If there was a goal to beat Gasper’s second term effort for goal of the day, it belonged to Oakleigh midfielder, Jack Ross who snapped around his body and it sailed through, showing great smarts. Ross was one of the best on the ground, winning a truckload of the ball and really having an influence on the game.

Gippsland had a nice passage of play from half-back leading to a strong mark inside 50 to Flanders, who had been one of the Power’s top players. He went back and had a shot from a tight angle, but it drifted to the right in the wind and just missed. Gasper’s prowess in front of the big sticks continued with the goal sneak nailed another set shot from just inside 50 and the game was well and truly done. Caleb Serong, Boadie Motton and Gown were trying hard along with Duursma and Flanders, but the overwhelming Oakleigh numbers were proving too much for the Power players.

Riley Collier-Dawkins showed off his strength and acceleration in two instances, first breaking the tackle of Irving Mosquito and kicking long, then moving forward, receiving the handball and bursting away to snap a great goal. A couple of minutes later, James Rowbottom snapped around his body courtesy of a Gasper handball and put it through and all of a sudden it was 90 points the margin and much like the weather, Gippsland’s day went from bad to worse.

It took until the first minute of the final term for Gippsland to break through for their first goal, but a quick dribbler from Caleb Serong put them on the board to ensure they did not go goalless for the match. Then Serong had another chance running into goal but sprayed it to the left. He was pushed in the back and awarded a free, but in a weird decision, the behind counted and Serong took the free kick from 15m out, putting it through for two in as many minutes.

Oakleigh missed a chance through Gasper, and the game had lost its intensity. Gown kicked a dribbler to add his name on the board and make it three consecutive goals for the Power. The frustration of the result for the Power was boiling over as Josh Smith was reported for a clash with Charlie Beasley. Oakleigh moved the ball into attack where Charlie Whitehead had a crack on goal but it was touched en-route to goal and registered just one behind.

Collier-Dawkin  (26 disposals, four marks, five clearances and five inside 50s) was arguably Oakleigh’s best player in the win, while he missed a late chance, scoring a behind from a set shot, he was strong throughout the match. While the game was over, Atu Bosenavulagi and Matthew Day both kicked late goals to put the Chargers beyond 100. Then Bailey Wraith put one through to ensure Oakleigh won all four quarters in a thumping 93-point win.

Others who stood out for Oakleigh were Ross (29 disposals, six marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and one goal), Joe Ayton Delaney (32 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebounds), and Answerth (23 touches, three marks, five tackles, five clearances and one goal) were others who found plenty of the football. Duursma (18 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s) stood tall for his team, while Serong had a big last term, finishing the game with 13 disposals, two inside 50s and two goals).

GIPPSLAND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.3 | 3.4 (22)
OAKLEIGH 5.4 | 9.5 | 14.10 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

Gippsland: Caleb Serong 2, Noah Gown
Oakleigh: Dylan Williams 4, Jake Gasper 3, Matthew Day 2, Matt Rowell, Noah Answerth, Noah Anderson, Jack Ross, Riley Collier-Dawkins, James Rowbottom, Atu Bosenavulagi, Bailey Wraith.

BEST:

Gippsland: Xavier Duursma, Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders, Boadie Motton, Ryan Sparkes.
Oakleigh: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Jake Gasper, Dylan Williams, Noah Answerth, Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Golds.

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