STRONG wind and the threat of rain greeted players and spectators for the preliminary final of the HFA at Percy Cullen oval, where Chidlow secured their grand final spot with a win over Swan View 14.5 (99) to 6.9 (44).
With the strong cross breeze there was no real advantage for the team that won the toss. Most of the game was played on the eastern side as neither club was going to offer their opponent the luxury of coming into their forward line with the breeze at their backs.
The first quarter was what you would expect from a final – hard competitive football, very little scoring and no easy possessions.
Kane Higgins got the Swans off to a start with the first goal. Chidlow continued to shuffle the magnets, with Matt Mallaby starting at full forward while Steven Schorer went deep into the backline. Tom Self showed his value to Chidlow returning after an extended injury break.
The Cougars found plenty of space in the second, with Jake Forman covering plenty of ground and picking up multiple possessions. Brent Williams and Michael McKinlay cut off most of the Swans forward moves.
A six goal to nil quarter had the Cougars in front by 52 points at half time.
Swan View came out full of intent after the break and controlled the play, as Josh Holingum and Ranierea Carpenter cleared the ball from the stoppages, while Anthony Hupping won on the wing, and Joseph Butler and Harlee Fryer rebounded from the backline.
At the last change the Swans had chipped 27 points off their deficit, but unfortunately were unable to maintain the momentum, with Chidlow going up a gear and pushing home for a strong win.
Cougar Aaron Ryan had a run in the ruck allowing teammate Adam McKinlay to spend some time up forward, where he kicked three of his six match goals.
Chidlow now faces Pickering Brook in Sunday’s grand final, kicking off at 2.30pm at Chidlow oval.