Busselton Mapgies head into first grand final in decade

Busselton Magpies Reserves team had a spirited encounter against the Harvey Bulls last week.

The Bulls blew the Magpies out of the water as they played a strong first hand attack with some long-bomb glory at the post.

The ball went straight into the experienced Donelle Wallam and the team looked set to run away with the match after taking the first quarter 24-11.

Undeterred, the persistent and concerted effort from Magpies defenders’ Yasmin Riley, Georgia O’Neill and Andrea King created opportunities that paid dividends.

Through the hardworking centre court Meg Bolton and Olivia Haslam drove the ball down to Matilda Cann and Sophie Brandis who were sharing the goal circle smoothly.

Their youth and exuberance in goals saw the Magpies outsmart the Bulls defenders at every turn taking the quarter 17-15, which saw the Magpies chip away at the Bulls’ lead. 

To the Magpies credit, every player lifted their intensity which resulted in an even third quarter.

In the last quarter, Bolton, Ash Farmer and Danielle Kitchen along with O’Neill and Riley dug in to tighten up their defensive efforts and this saw the Magpies creep within eight goals as they outscored the Bulls again.

Unfortunately despite a fantastic team effort with coach Danielle Cann saying it was an outstanding performance, they were unable to make up the first term deficit with the final score 63-74 knocking them out of finals contention.

Busselton Magpies met a fired up Bunbury Bulldogs in the preliminary final, and despite a tentative start they found solid form they promised all season.

The Magpies form saw them run home comfortable winners and set up a meeting with HBL in the grand final on Friday. 

The Magpies defensive circle initially struggled to contain the cool and calm Cassady Anderson who found herself spearheading a relentless Bunbury forward line.

However, solid court defence from Maia Bratten and Emma Borinelli’s attack circle kept the Magpies in touch, trailing by five at the first change.

Ash Rittson and Belle Hancock brought some stability to the midcourt, this added patience in the circle feed allowing the Magpies to play a more measured game.

Harmony Sutherland and Riley Culnane raised the bar in defence and gained plenty of clean turnovers and rebounds, which frustrated the Bulldogs and forced errors.

Crucially, the Bulldogs lost their GD Amy Hammond to an ankle injury, and the subsequent change allowed Bratten some damaging creative freedom.

The Magpies made a slow comeback which saw them win every quarter from that point on. Magpies entered the final stanza six goals up while the Bunbury Bulldogs chased valiantly close to an 11-goal gap.

The Magpies were able to shut down that last hurrah and won themselves a grand final chance, their first in 10 years.

The grand final will be played from 8pm this Friday at Eaton Recreation Centre, come and watch the Magpies take on HBL as they strive to reclaim the SWNFL title.

Magpies Open: Harmony Sutherland contesting the ball while Rennie Sansom watches on. Photo: supplied.

Magpies Open: Harmony Sutherland contesting the ball while Rennie Sansom watches on. Photo: supplied.