Goon steamroll Cobras

Right on top! Deon Boavida lays a strong tackle on Cory Machaya; then kicks a goal on the half-time siren that is celebrated by his Nar Nar Goon teammates. 356294 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel

The sweet smell of September waits for Nar Nar Goon after Justin Stanton’s men produced an impressive and dominant display against arch-rivals Cora Lynn in the elimination final at Western Park on Sunday.

The Goon eventually prevailed 12.9.81 to 6.7.43, with six unanswered goals – from mid-way through the second term until early in the third – a fitting reward for some classy and clinical football.

The Goon was clearly superior from the outset, but Cora Lynn’s dogged determination ensured they stayed in the hunt until the elastic band broke in a heartbeat.

Dermott Yawney kicked his third, at the 11-minute mark of the second quarter, to extend the lead to 15 points, before two goals in three minutes from Tex Marsham – and Yawney again – gave the scoreboard the same look and feel as the way the game was unfolding.

Nar Nar Goon looked fresh and primed for the occasion, and when Deon Boavida kicked the first of his four goals, after a brilliant chase down of Cory Machaya – right on the half-time siren – the Goon had kicked 33 points ahead.

Quick goals at the start of third, to Boavida and Troy McDermott, stretched the margin to 45 points and became the official end of the penny section.

The big question coming in, as it was last year, was how the two key forwards – Yawney and Nathan Gardiner – would impact the contest.

Gardiner kicked eight, and Yawney went goalless in the corresponding clash last year.

Yawney positioned himself at the first bounce on centre wing, but had an immediate impact up forward when he kicked the first of the match…a minute-forty into the contest.

Young Goon midfielder Aidan Pipicelli was the best player on the ground in the first quarter, with Brent Hughes and Trent Armour also providing their front half with some good looks at goal.

Gardiner was being nullified by Jake Blackwood, who had magnificent support from James Cairns, who became a thorn in Gardiner’s side as the afternoon wore on.

Minus Ryan Gillis, Cora Lynn consistently broke down across half forward with Cairns taking intercept marks for fun.

It took Cora Lynn 21 minutes to register its first score, but when Luke Hartley kicked the Cobras first goal at the 25-minute mark there was only nine points the difference.

That provided the Cobras with hope, because there was a much-bigger disparity in the way the teams were playing.

The second-quarter burst…well it set the record straight.

Cora Lynn showed glimpses of a comeback, midway through the third, but two late goals to Boavida put an already monumental task out of reach.

Stanton was delighted to turn the tables on the Cobras from last year.

“Twelve months ago we finished fourth, and we did the same again this year, so until now we really hadn’t achieved anything,” he said.

“The acid test was on us today to at least go one better.

“I’m really proud of the way the guys played, we’re a young enthusiastic team and we were able to get the footy on our terms today.

“It was a really pleasing result.”

A soft run into finals had Stanton a little concerned in the build-up.

“We were worried because, with all due respect to Korumburra and Bunyip, they’re depleted sides at the moment and all we focussed on was trying to play a good half of footy – with finals like intensity.”

Aiden Pipicelli, fed by his brother Nate in the ruck, has shown composure beyond his years after being moved from half back to the midfield in recent times.

“It’s been key, that move,” Stanton enthused.

“Young guy, six foot two, strong athletic fella, and he can run all day, so having him on the footy has been important to us.

“He had his rotations throughout the day, but he played a lot of minutes for us and was super important.

“Trent Armour led by example, Jed Smith has been outstanding since coming across from Berwick…the midfield was superb all day.”

The Goon also stuck up to Cora Lynn in a way it hasn’t done in the past.

“It was about going head on with them, and not taking a backward step, but being composed and not giving away silly free kicks at the same time,” Stanton said.

“We’re a work in progress there, we’ve been giving away 50-metre penalties by going too far, but today we had the right balance of standing up for our teammates but not taking it too far.”

Stanton also praised Blackwood and Cairns for their fine work in limiting Gardiner to two goals.

Yawney and Boavida were the dangerous forwards on the ground, with five and four goals respectively, while skipper Armour was inspirational through the midfield.

Cora Lynn had not many winners on the day, but key defensive acts from Luke Black and Matt Briggs stopped the margin from blowing out earlier.

Matt Ryan tried hard up forward for the Cobras, while lively types in Jett Edwards, Hartley and Lachie Coverdale can hold their heads high in defeat.

Nar Nar Goon now takes on Warragul Industrials in the cut-throat first semi-final at Bass on Sunday.