Bombers bow out against Blues

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ROSEDALE kept its North Gippsland football premiership dreams alive with a well-drilled 10 goal victory over Traralgon-Tyers United.

The knock-out first semi-final at Heyfield on Sunday provided spectators with plenty.

Looking sharp from the outset, perennial finalist Rosedale came to play and was quick to place the Bombers on the back foot.

Holding TTU to four goals in the first half, the Blues took a 19-point lead into the long change and didn’t let up in the second half, slamming home seven goals to one with the final term a formality.

The Blues were predictably in charge from the outset and always had the Bombers’ measure, winning 13.17 (95) to 5.5 (35).

Andrew Flanagan kicked four with Brad Caldwell and Brad Scott chipping in with two each as Rosedale advanced to a preliminary final showdown against reigning premier Heyfield.

Jack Wyhoon and Chris Graham at times ran rings around the opposition midfield, amassing possessions, while Jeremy Reid was a key figure in the ruck contests or setting-up play in the forward line.

Best-on-ground Barnes was outstanding, generating run off half-back as he shut down his various opponents, and worked hard with Dom Keating as the Blues’ an impenetrable back line which held the Bombers’ danger forwards, including Michael Hall, to a mere five majors, including a scoreless final term.

The Blues dominated the centre clearance count, as they drilled the ball direct into the potent forward line of Flanagan, Caldwell and company.

TTU’s defence of Guy Sinclair, Wade McNeill and Callum Laurie-Rhodes felt the effects of the Blues’ quick delivery into their attacking 50 from the opening bounce. The Bombers’ back six worked hard to contain the onslaught, which saw the Blues capitalise on TTU’s somewhat selfish play early in the first term.

Down by three goals at half-time, the Bombers needed to dig deep and begin the third term on the front foot, but the Blues carrying on from where they left off, with Flanagan adding another goal as he outmuscled McNeill.

A free kick and subsequent 50 metre penalty put Bombers coach Matt Stolarczyk in the goal square as he reeled the margin back to 18 points as tempers began to fray.

Pushing forward, Keating snuck forward to goal for Rosedale, but at the other end of the ground it wasn’t the same tail of fortune, Laurie-Rhodes shot on the run hitting the post with Pat Sharps long kick from outside 50 rushed over the line.

The Blues continued to inflict further pain on the scoreboard during the final term.

The Bombers were well-served by Scott Zuehlke, who worked hard to create something often out of nothing, Stolarczyk and Sharp were tireless contributors, captain Luke Middleton never dropped his head and Brian Graham worked hard to claim bragging rights over his brother Chris in the midfield.

Despite being held goal-less in the first half, Cowwarr overcame Rosedale to win the reserves first semi-final. The Saints kicked 10 goals to four in the second half to win 10.8 (68) to 9.12 (66).

Sale City was too strong for TTU in the thirds, winning 17.15 (117) to 4.2 (26).