By Brian Pallister
PICKERING BROOK will take on Bullsbrook this weekend to determine who will face Mt Helena in the 2020 Hills Football Association Grand Final after Bullsbrook defeated Chidlow in the first semi-final and Mt Helena defeated Pickering Brook in the second semi-final over the weekend.
In the first semi, the Saints defeated the Cougars 12.12 (84) to 9.13 (67).
The Cougars had plenty of the early play, as they held the ball in their forward line although they were unable to convert.
The Saints worked themselves into the game with a couple of goals as they opened up a 17-point lead.
Chidlow jumped Bullsbrook at the start of the second as they created the overlap with some hard running and clever ball movement.
Matt Mallaby, Michael and Adam McKinlay along with Jordan Grey were finding targets in the open as their accuracy improved.
The Saints had to lift their tempo if they were going to stay in the contest.
James Thompson battled hard as the lone Saints ruckman, pushing himself to get to every ball up.
Kevin Chitty and Michael Davies lifted their ratings to hit up targets in the forward line.
A nasty head clash left both clubs one player down in their rotations.
The Saints had managed to quell the early Cougars charge.
The third was an even affair with both teams going goal for goal, neither shying away from the contest.
The Saints had managed a seventeen point lead heading into the last but Chidlow weren’t finished with and started to show why they have been one of the teams to beat for several years.
Adam McKinlay used his bigger frame to advantage in the ruck contests offering supply to his roving players in Alex Radonic and Steven Schorer.
Tom Self goaled quickly followed by Michael McKinlay and the Cougars had their noses in front.
Someone needed to stand up for the Saints to stop the flow and that came from their captain Jordan Pickles who kicked a couple of goals in quick succession.
In the end it was the Saints by 17 points in a very tough encounter.
In the second semi it was Mt Helena who advanced straight to the Grand Final, defeating Pickering Brook 9.15 (69) to 8.6 (54).
The pundits had the odds even as both teams had beaten each other during the regular season.
The Hawks got the more accurate start as the Lions couldn’t buy an early goal.
Rowan Arnott and Nicholas Gillies, the two tallest ruckmen in the HFA went head to head, with honors pretty much even.
The Hawks controlled the early play in the second as the Lions poor conversion rate continued.
Finally the Lions started to get some reward for effort with Jack Holley marking everything that came his way while Jordan Kimberley was picking up plenty of possessions around the ground.
Tim McQuoid along with Nathan Clarke and Mitchell Johnson worked hard for the Hawks.
The Hawks headed into the third with an 11 point lead, which was quickly turned around by the Lions as they started to control most of the play.
Michael Stampfer was taking some telling grabs while Sam Fowler and Tom Martino picked up possessions at will.
Joshua Vellinga teamed well with Mitchell Shilling to be the Hawks mainstay in their back end.
The last quarter was an even affair with both teams scoring two goals two behinds apiece.
Not enough for the Hawks after the Lions third quarter dominance.
The Lions now head into the Grand Final on October 11 and Pickering Brook take on Bullsbrook this Sunday at Chidlow Oval, with the game starting at 2.30pm.