Ports 6-6 (42) lost to Eastern Ranges 11-7 (73)
AFTER weeks of trying to fix their rain gauges, it seems everyone decided on a day out at the football, which led to a very good crowd at Arno Bay and perfect weather.
Eastern Ranges got off to a strong start in the day’s final match, pushing into the lead early despite a determined Ports defence.
Scrappy play from both sides saw the ball falter in the mid field several times during the first quarter.
Young guns Caleb Evans and Lachie Shambrook teamed with Ranges’ stalwarts Pat Jenner and Rhys Beinke to take control despite the determined efforts of Ports’ Bayley Dunning and Cade Hartwig.
Heading up to the first whistle, Luke Harrowfield put Ports on the board, revitalising their efforts but at the first break, Ranges led 34 to 17.
Ports pushed back hard at the start of the second quarter, holding Ranges to a handful of points.
Determined defence led to players spending more time on the ground than in the goal square and the scoring was difficult until Cooper Llewelyn, in his first A grade game, kicked a decisive goal into the sun.
Another for Ports, then Ranges’ Damien Hannemann replied and play stepped up a notch.
Despite some aggressive defence by Ben Batten and Sid Masters, Wade Mason, Ethan Kwaterski and Nathan Byrnes were instrumental in cementing the Ranges lead to only four goals going into the half time break.
Ports soccered the first goal of the second half but gave away 50 metres in their defensive end, allowing Ranges to reply. A holding call for Ports, set Llewelyn up for his second goal.
Jonno Forrest, Elliott Claxton and Jared Siviour fought hard for Ranges but were matched by clean decisive play from Harrowfield, Tom Davey and Matt Dodd, which saw the ball see-saw through the midfield.
Mick Noble took some decisive marks for the Ranges as did Ryan Helling for Ports and at the third break, Ports were 33 to Ranges’ 73.
Ports cleaned up their teamwork in the final quarter with Tom Clarke and Bayley Dunning impressive on the wings, moving the ball toward goal effectively but their forwards could not convert until the final minutes.
This was a down and dusty clash defined by its mistakes rather than its successes, with most goals hard fought for on the ground before they made it over the line.
Despite Ports keeping the opposition scoreless in the final quarter, the day went to Ranges who started strong and had the momentum to go the distance with the final score Ports 6-6 (42) and Ranges 11-7 (73).
Special mention to Ports’ Cooper Llewelyn, 14, celebrating 100 junior games in the colts match before debuting in the A grade, while Ranges’ Kyron McCallum, 15, also debuted in his first A grade match.