History was made in the Alberton Football League on Saturday night when Foster played Stony Creek in the first night match under the newly installed lights. On what turned out be a great night for football with the rain and wind staying away, the stage was set for a cracking game. Foster had to win to make finals and Stony Creek were looking to be the show stealers, playing for pride after a long season in which they didn’t quite make it. The Foster boys were near full strength and knew they had to get a fast start, something they had lacked all season and caused them to play catch up footy on too many occasions.
Both teams were wayward early but Waser opened the Tiger’s goal account when he kicked truly from a set shot. Stony Creek hit back as Foster again failed to hit enough targets and let the ball out of the forward line far too easily. Simon Andrews kicked his first of seven soon after setting up the battle of the big forwards, with in-form player Lucas McMillan up the other end. The match was being played fiercely with a few big hits and plenty of stoppage work as both teams tried to get the upper hand. Andrews kicked two more goals on the back of some quality midfield work to finish off the quarter positively and give Foster an 11 point lead at quarter time. Foster 4-3-27 to Stony Creek 2-4-16.
Both teams now seemed to be acclimatised to the conditions, with the ball being a bit dewy making it not the easiest to mark. Foster wanted to stamp some authority on the game and really go into the rooms at half time with a sizeable lead and started off the quarter well with Andrews kicking his fourth to get the ball rolling. An injury to Stevenson then Dows slowed the rotations for the Tigers but it didn’t stop them from kicking goals with Waser getting his second.
Grylls was finding heaps of the footy in the middle and really putting on a show for the huge crowd, whilst Granger was getting the ball forward as much and as often as he could. Jack Hughes, for the Lions, was trying his heart out almost single handily keeping them in the game. Stony Creek, however, had no answer for the big man Andrews who kicked a further two goals to have a lazy six at half time. Foster 8-6-54 led Stony 4-4-28 at the main break.
It was shaping up to be a big third quarter with the Tiger boys needing to keep the foot down to sink the Lions. They had to lift their pressure on the ball carrier, continue to run and spread and make sure they pushed back to help out the defence. Two different teams came out however, with the Creek looking the better, putting some scoreboard pressure on to the Tigers early on. Suddenly the Tigers were giving silly free kicks away and had stopped running, giving Stony Creek an opportunity to get right back into the contest.
Cal Van Dyke became the key in defence, spurning many attacking moves from the Lions and carrying the footy like he had all year to give the forwards a chance. Foster got two goals back but it was Stony who had won and controlled the quarter quite convincingly. This saw them up and about going into the last. Foster still led 10-8-68 to Stony Creek 9-5-59.
Coach Duursma walked out to the huddle with a purpose, asking his troops whether they actually wanted to be there and play finals footy the following week. He reminded his players that they didn’t deserve to lose the game and asked if they wanted this to be their last quarter for the year. Both teams attacked the footy to start the quarter, not wanting to leave anything on the oval after the game and Foster managed to get the first goal on the board through Zachariassen who had moved forward. Hawking was having a huge influence on the game on his wing, doing as he pleased even with a worrying ankle injury sustained in the opening quarter.
It was going to be such individual efforts that were going to lift both teams and get them over the line. Enter Michael Howell. With Foster still only having a two goal lead midway through the quarter, Howell’s opponent marked the footy at half forward and quickly turned and played on but Howell not only laid one big smother he got back up and laid another to force the ball out of bounds and stop the Lions from an attacking foray. This may have sparked the Tigers who went forward and Andrews kicked his seventh extending the lead again.
The game was still not over with the Lions still fighting to get goals, but when they seemed to just be getting on top Foster always got it back. Zachariassen put the icing on the cake with his second, ensuring that Foster had made the top six for the third year in a row. What a cracking spectacle under the lights with both teams leaving no one to die wondering. Final Scores: Foster 14-9-83 defeating Stony Creek 11-8-74.
Foster: Goal Kickers: S. Andrews 7, D. Waser 4, S. Zachariassen 2, D. Granger. Best Players: S. Hawking, C. VanDyke, N. Grylls, D. Granger, S. Andrews, D. Waser.
Stony Creek: Goal Kickers: L. McMillan 3, B. Langley 2, K. Van Der Pluym 2, J. Byrnes , R. Hillis , J. Hughes , L. Bowman. Best Players: J. Hughes, K. Van Der Pluym, C. Langley, L. Bowman, J. Byrnes, J. Byrnes