By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove’s seven-goal opening quarter blitz sent a shell-shocked Anglesea out of the Bellarine Football League premiership race in the elimination final at Portarlington on August 15.
The 44-point win set up a mouthwatering Battle of the Bridge first-semi final showdown with Barwon Heads. Final scores, Ocean Grove 15.14(104) to Anglesea 8.12(60) on a windy day.
It was the Logan Taylor show in the first term as the crafty young forward booted four goals to give the Grubbers a 41-point lead at the break.
“He has been threatening to do this all season,” Ocean Grove coach Pete Davey said.
“Logan is a quality player who gets himself into scoring positions every week.
“If he’d been able to convert a little better, he would almost be leading our goal kicking as he’s getting at least four opportunities every week, but just not quite finishing off his hard work.”
The deficit proved too much for the Seas and they were never in the hunt due to Ocean Grove’s fierce tackling and manic pressure.
A further three goals to one in the second quarter sent Ocean Grove to the sheds with a 53-point lead and belief that they had broken Anglesea’s spirit.
“We spoke at half time about not being satisfied and regardless of the score, we wanted to keep pressing and playing our brand of footy,” Davey said.
“The game was set up in the first quarter but, for me, the game was won in the second through our defensive efforts and ability to counter-attack into the wind.”
Anglesea outscored the Grubbers in the second half, but by then Grove had the game won and was in preservation mode in anticipation of a semi-final match up with its arch rivals.
“Anglesea are a dangerous team and we were always conscious that they have the ability to score heavily, quickly,” Davey said.
“To our credit though, the pressure we applied at the contest just didn’t allow them to find any kind of momentum.”
It was a complete performance from the young Grubbers with their defence proving miserly while also providing run out of the defensive 50.
“Our backline is extremely settled and they all know their strengths and weaknesses and play to those accordingly,” Davey said.
“Over the final month of the season our defensive numbers were in the top three in the league so we were confident it would stand up once finals came around – particularly after passing the Drysdale test (in the final home and away game).”
Ocean Grove’s ability to score was also impressive.
“To kick 100 points in a final is extraordinary,” Davey said.
“Until Sunday, we’d only achieved it three times this year – once against Barwon Heads in the shootout in round 5 and twice against Portarlington. Kicking 15 goals in an elimination game certainly wasn’t something I saw coming.”
For Grove, Taylor was best afield while Joe McDonald was in everything and Fletcher Keck again busy.
MODEWARRE defeated Barwon Heads for the third time this season and booked a date with Torquay in the second semi-final.
Modda booted the first three goals of the game, but the Seagulls responded with the next three and it looked like another close result was pending. The Warriors won both regular season games by less than a goal.
But a four-goal to none third term saw Modewarre home by 30 points, 11.16(82) to 7.10(52).
Tom Hornsey booted four goals in a best afield performance for the winners while Mitch Phelps also snagged four for Barwon Heads, which earned the double chance to take on the Grubbers in a cut-throat first semi-final.