CLASH…Lions’ Tom Harmer battles for the ball against Solomontown players Ashley Johnson and Zac Siemer.
A barnstorming five-goal final quarter blitz saw Lions snatch vital points in the battle for third spot and keep their hopes of a top-two finish alive by defeating Solomontown by 20 points.
Despite the result, it was Sollies who got off to the better start and led for most of the day.
They shot out the blocks kicking three opening quarter goals to Lions’s one. Micheal O’Brien, who enjoyed a day out in the two teams last encounter, picked up right where he left off booting two first quarter majors.
Fellow forward Mudge was the other contributor and together, were causing the Lions defenders some early headaches.
A prickly Ash Dunkley questioned some of his players hardness at the contest and whether or not they were actually up to challenge they faced at the quarter time huddle and his firm words seemed to have the desired affect as his team responded in the best possible fashion by kicking the first two goals of the second term through Fuller and Giles.
The renaissance was shortlived however as Sollies banged on the next three unanswered.
The battle between O’Brien and Ley was weighing heavily in Sollies favour and he was letting Ley know all about it with the robust forward kicking another two goals taking his tally to four before half time.
This brought about a switch mid term which saw Ley go forward and swingman Tom Harmer sent back to have a crack at curtailing the forwards influence on proceedings.
In other key match ups Sollies Schutte was getting the better of Marsland at center half forward, playing in front of his man and leading him to the ball on a number of occasions and the Cats mosquito fleet of Redman, Caputo and Trent Hoare were gathering important touches throughout the midfield.
Both teams were throwing caution to the wind and attacking hard off of half back, with Eckert and Siemer proving vital cogs in the majority of their respective teams forays forward.
Sollies took a 11 point lead into the long break and were looking to build on this in the second half.
Lions needed a spark early in the third quarter and they got what they were after with Slattery snapping the first for the term off the back of some hard run and carry from Giles who’s influence on the game had been steadily building all day.
From there, Lions enjoyed the majority of the attacking play for the next 10 minutes but were unable to translate bulk of possession into goals.
The Cats however had no such troubles and when it was their turn to attack, piled on goals to Head, Caputo and Redman in the blink of an eye.
Lions quickly regained control and maintained it for the remainder of the quarter but took until just before the three quarter time siren for Marsland to add Lions second for the quarter after a raft of behinds to go into the final term down by 12 points.
Sollies had made the most of their opportunities kicking an incredibly accurate 9.2. to this point and coach Chris Pollard implored his troops to do all they could to win the last quarter and maintain their hard fought scoreboard advantage through to the final siren.
The last quarter however belonged to the Gold and Blues.
An early injury to Shutte forced a rejig of the Sollies backline, which seemed to upset their balance.
The run and drive off half back had dried up and it had turned into a pure containment mission trying to deal with the heavy number of Lions forward entries.
Unlike the third term though, Lions were getting value out of their attacks, with Patterson drawing first blood with a trademark goal on the run and Bradley bringing scores level soon after.
Sollies, with a rare final quarter push forward, thought they had found O’Brien and a chance to kick a steadier after a good attempted pack mark, but (much to the disdain of the Solly faithful) the umpire waved play on when the ball managed to spill from the big forwards grasp on the way down and to rub salt in the wounds, Lions were able to goal and snatch the lead from the resulting rebound forward through Fuller.
From there the floodgates had opened and Slattery and Horsnell goaled to close out the match as Lions kicked 5.3. in the final term to Sollies solitary behind to run out victors by 20 points..
Lions Anthony Slattery finished the game with three goals rotating through the middle and showed his potency when not being used in a negating role.
The experience of Giles shone through with his surety around the packs and ability run and carry leading the way for youngsters Patterson and Fuller follow.
Moving Harmer to O’Brien also paid dividends with the Cats forward held goaless in the second half.
Sollies workhorse Graham Cooke battled tirelessly in the ruck for the majority of the day, with Shutte and Siemer keeping a lid on things and rebounding well from defence until the former succumbed to injury.
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