Kiama in AFL South Coast grand final, Bulldogs meet Lions

Bulldogs coach Lee Murray described it as a slow-moving storm.

Grand plan: Kiama's Ben Rawson considers his options against the Lions at North Dalton Park on Saturday. Picture: Robert Peet

Grand plan: Kiama's Ben Rawson considers his options against the Lions at North Dalton Park on Saturday. Picture: Robert Peet

It took until the last two minutes to hit.

In Saturday minor semi-final, Figtree had led all afternoon, only to be overtaken when key forward James Morsanuto kicked a goal from in front to seal a stunning 8.11 (59) to 8.5 (53) victory.

The Kangaroos had led by 27 points at half-time, but were held to just 1.1 in the second half and scoreless in the final term.

The win puts the Bulldogs into a preliminary final battle with cross-town rivals and premiers Wollongong Lions, to be played at Bomaderry’s Artie Smith Oval. 

Kiama overpowered the Lions to book their ticket in the grand final, kicking three goals to two in the final quarter to prevail 11.5 (71) to 8.11 (59).

And the Dogs firmly believe they can break through to meet the Power in the decider, after their nailbiting success on Saturday.

“It was just slowly rolling in, like a bit of a slow-moving storm,” Murray said. 

“We were just chipping away, but we left it late to catch them. 

“I thought we played pretty well even though we were behind, I told the boys we were doing the right things and it would come.

“We knew if we could kick the first couple in the last quarter we could win it and they really showed some character.”

Morsanuto had a huge impact in the second half after being forced upfield earlier on in search of possessions. 

He finished with four, while Alex Hay was rated as best-on-ground and captain Cameron Bailey was also a standout. Nick Stacey and Mitch Daly were impressive in defeat, their fifth loss by 14 points or less this year. 

Still, Figtree took giant stride towards becoming an AFL South Coast force under coach Will Ryan this year two years after returning to first grade.

Kiama now have the opportunity to put the exclamation point on their two-year period as a league powerhouse, after falling in last year’s grand final to the Lions. They had seven goalkickers in a total of 11, while former Hawthorn rookie-listed player Jack Mahony showed his immense class in Saturday’s win. 

Lions full forward James Adamson booted three in just his second game back. 

AFL SOUTH COAST

Matthew Price

Matthew Price

Preliminary final

Saturday (2.30pm)

WOLLONGONG LIONS v WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS at Artie Smith Oval

Winner to meet Kiama in grand final on Saturday, September 22 at North Dalton Park.

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