Eagles soar into second semi

Ellinbank’s Ryan Parsons slips the tackle of his Trafalgar opponent on Saturday. 356286 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel and Jonty Ralphsmith

Ellinbank has guaranteed itself two shots at playing in this year’s EDFL grand final after the Eagles scored a runaway 43-point victory over Trafalgar in the qualifying final on Saturday.

The Bloods defeated the Eagles by 14 points, just two weeks ago in round 19, but it became clear during the second quarter that the Eagles were up for the fight.

They extended a seven-point quarter-time lead to 22 points at the half, which was narrowed to 16 at the final change, before careering away with a 6.5 to 2.2 final term.

Adamson Cook and Shaun Phelan kicked three goals apiece in the 14.14.98 to 8.7.55 triumph, while Jake Dean, Bryce Joyce and Ryan Atherton were all consistent performers.

The Eagles will now take on the all-conquering Buln Buln in Saturday’s second semi-final at Trafalgar, hoping to replicate their one-point victory over the Lyrebirds in round 13.

Brayde Bosman and Hardy Kenny slotted two each for the Bloods, while skipper Dylan Farrell will take some great form into Sunday’s first semi-final against Neerim South at Yarragon.

The Cats proved far too strong for Poowong in Sunday’s elimination final at Lang Lang, with the reigning premiers racing away with a 14.18.102 to 5.3.33 victory.

Isaac Fuller was the star for the Cats up forward, booting seven goals, while two each to Lachie Bambridge and Tom Crole proved too much for the Magpies to handle.

Skipper Kody Wilson was superb for the Cats all day, while Steve McInnes and Jack Hazendonk were best for a Magpies outfit that bow out at the same time as last year.

The top four from 2022 will once again battle it out for this year’s premiership.

Results: Finals – Week 1

Qualifying Final (2 v 3): Ellinbank 14.14.98 def Trafalgar 8.7.55. Elimination Final (4 v 5): Neerim South 14.18.102 def Poowong 5.3.33.

Fixture: Finals – Week 2


Second Semi-Final: Buln Buln (1) v Ellinbank (2).


First Semi-Final: Trafalgar (3) v Neerim South (4).


Endeavour Hills fell to the challenge of second-placed Frankston Dolphins in Saturday’s qualifying final.

Both sides piled on goals in the first term before the brakes were applied and pressure came to the fore.

Endeavour Hills finished with two more goals than Frankston, the Dolphins’ inaccuracy keeping the Falcons in it, but they ultimately succumbed 10.5 65 to 8.24 72.

The Dolphins finished with a staggering 2.15 as they surged it forward in the last quarter, with the Falcons maintaining the lead early in the last, before the Falcons succumbed to the avalanche of Frankston forward forays.

Mistakes at crucial times is ultimately what cost the Falcons in a hot and quick game of footy between two sides likely to be contesting for a spot in Division 2 next weekend.

“We brought commitment and effort but were sucked away from our brand,” coach Matt Peake said.

“We stayed with them through will and determination; our hardness at the contest was there but we need to be better with our ball use and cleaner.”

Noted for their quick forwards, that part of Frankston’s game was effectively shut down by a well equipped backline, led by skipper Nathan Reid.

Devlyn Hasler, Rikky Boccari and James Archer were others able to match the fleet-footed Dolphins attackers for speed.

Sam McLean came into the game high on confidence after six goals against Narre South in the last round of the home-and-away season and was named best-on-ground for kicking four goals.

He had some big moments and was strong in the contest, running through the midfield in the second half, with Rohan Scott (three goals) also a lively presence up forward.

John Rafferty, meanwhile, stood up to the pressure of finals footy in the clinches, shrugging off a tag and early yellow card to be Endeavour Hills’ most influential man in tight.

Endeavour Hills will now play Ashwood, which upset third-placed Carrum Patterson Lakes, for a spot against the Dolphins in the grand final, but they will have to do it without promising youngster Luke Peters, who was injured in an off-ball incident .

Peake’s men have beaten Ashwood in each of their meetings in 2023, by 93, 78 and 52 points.


Dandenong’s season, meanwhile has come to a close with a disappointing 29-point loss to Hampton in the first semi final.

The meek exit follows a shock loss to Lyndale last week, where a win would have secured them a double chance.

The club, however, is proud of the season, defeating each team at least once except ladder-leading South Mornington.

It’s the first time that Dandenong has made finals since 2013, with the club’s senior team having just 16 wins between 2014-2021.

Last season they just missed finals with eight wins, while 10 wins with a significantly changed list in 2023 provides cause for optimism that they will be able to go a step further in 2024.

Despite winning its most recent home-and-away clash with Hampton, the Hammers were far too strong in the final, kicking nine of the first 12 goals in a game that was over by halftime.

Matija Sigeti and Hayden Egerton were the best performed players.