The Busselton Magpies colts side has been dealt a harsh blow thanks to a seven point loss to Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault in the first week of the SWFL finals series.
Sunday’s clash saw excited fans brave cold conditions at Collie Recreation Ground to catch the qualifying final.
Busselton got off to a promising start, with Daniel Gault kicking the first goal straight after the opening bouncedown.
The Lions launched into attack mode and gave the Magpies’ defence a run for its money. Kieran Chell slotted HBL’s first for the finals.
Busselton was given a 50-metre penalty midway through the quarter, with Magpie Harvey Golding pushed over after taking a mark.
Lion Caleb Wilson ran towards goal before kicking his first for the game.
Scrappy play saw numerous free kicks handed to both sides, while fans and coaching staff were disgruntled by several umpiring decisions.
Isaac Haslam’s effort gave Busselton a 2.2.14 to 2.1.13 lead at quarter time.
Both teams seemed determined to get one step closer to the grand final.
HBL’s Brock Mccormack hand-balled to give teammate Taine Williams a chance on goal 30 metres out.
Fans voiced their disappointment in Mccormack’s decision after the ball drifted through the point posts.
Busselton failed to capitalise on its chances, with several shots falling short or drifting across the face of goal.
The Lions’ attempts were blocked by Busselton’s tenacious defenders before HBL’s Zavier Williams’ shot was stopped on the line.
Inaccurate kicking and strong defending kept both teams goalless in the second quarter.
Trailing by one point at half time, Busselton coach Michelle Harris pushed her squad to apply pressure on opposition players and stay disciplined.
“50s and yellow cards and going to cost us,” she stated.
Lion Tom Kelly secured the first goal of the third. However, his efforts were not enough to delay Busselton’s oncoming assault.
Haslam kicked two goals to stretch his side’s lead to 14 midway through the quarter.
HBL’s form went from bad to worse, with Sheldon Aitken and Chell missing valuable opportunities in the forward 50.
Lions Wilson and Jake Currell crashed into one another while going up for a mark.
HBL’s Tom Kelly ran unopposed into the goalsquare for his second before Magpie Tait Spowart got one back before three quarter time.
Facing a 6.6.42 to 4.4.28 deficit at the final change, HBL coach Matt Stevens rallied his players to keep their structure and stop turning to ball over.
The Lions took their coach’s advice to heart in the final term, kicking two quick goals to shrink the gap.
HBL’s squad outran and outmaneuvered the competition, taking back the lead thanks to an in-form Taine Williams.
The Magpies could only kick three points for the quarter before Lion Antonio Gianfrancesco put the game out of reach.
HBL’s players and fans were elated with the side’s 8.4.52 to 6.9.45 win.
The Lions outfit faces Bunbury while Busselton goes up against South Bunbury in next weekend’s semi-final clashes.