GRAND FINALISTS: The Gunners' first division squad beat the Nanango Panthers for the first time in more than two years to progress through to the grand final. Photo Keagan Elder / South Burnett Times
GRAND FINALISTS: The Gunners' first division squad beat the Nanango Panthers for the first time in more than two years to progress through to the grand final. Photo Keagan Elder / South Burnett Times Keagan Elder

Two-year winning streak brought to an end

A TWO-and-a-half year run of wins for the Nanango Panthers' first division team has been broken.

The minor champions were gunned down by the Gunners 2-1 in the major semi-final after Hayden Mashford's long distance stunner solidified the lead.

Gunners' coach Debbie Ovens said she was stoked by the result.

"I know the last time we beat them was two-and-a-half years ago in a President's Cup game," she said.

"So it was always going to be a tough ask.

"When the first goal went in I was like wow and then when the second one went in I said this was crazy."

With all the goals scored in the first-half, Ovens prioritised her defence in the second-half to stop the determined Panthers.

"We parked the bus, we had everyone back man-on-man marking," she said.

Panthers' coach Lauren Mangan said her team still continued to dominate in terms of control of the ball despite the score.

"We genuinely did not let them inside our half of the field in the second-half," she said.

"We were by far the better team on the park."

But in a sense Mangan foresaw the first loss in more than two seasons.

"Before the game I told all the boys we were one step closer to a loss," she said.

"It was quite an important game to lose but you have to lose at some point."

Mangan said she will continue with the same plan as she prepares her team to take on the Wests at the weekend.

"I'm not very concerned (but) we are going to be a bit more wary of people taking long distance shots," she said.

The Wests' first division squad beat Barambah 4-1

Wests' skipper Thomas Carroll said his team played high intensity basic football.

"We just played possessive football and hit feet," he said.

Barambah goalkeeper Ryan Nicholson said it was tough to finish the season knocked out of both divisions.

But with a shortage of players he felt there was little his team could do.

"We only had 11 players, we had no substitutes," he said.

"But this season the boys gave it their all."

Nicholson vowed Barambah would come back bigger and stronger next season with more players.

Panthers have perfect season in their sights

THE first perfect season is in the sights of the Panthers' women's side who strode through to a 2-0 win against the Wests.

But Panthers' coach Alan Downie said it was no easy game.

"(The Wests) were on us every move, so 10 points to them," he said.

Downie said his team was able to lead from the front to take control of the game and eventually the win.

"We defended with our best form of defence - attack," he said.

"We kept the attack up even though the Wests were trying to break through our backs."

This self-assurance of his backline stems from what Downie believes is the perfect balance of players made up of a strong backline, controlling midfielders and fast forwards.

With a week off, Downie said he would focus on possession maintenance as the Panthers prepared to take on the winner of the Wests v Barambah preliminary final at the weekend.

In light of that game, Wests' Danielle Maudsley said the contest would be tough.

Maudsley hopes to field a full-strength team after the Wests' were hammered by player shortages so had to play players in unfamiliar positions.

The Wests will play Barambah at the weekend after its 3-1 win against the Gunnettes.

This win marked a redemption for Barambah who were ousted out of the competition by the Gunnettes last season.

The strong running game presented Barambah plenty of one-on-one chances against Gunnettes' goalkeeper Rahab Murray to break away with a 3-1 win and earn a spot in the preliminary final.

Barambah's captain Sarah Vanderkolk said it was a sweet victory with forwards Taylah Berlin and Christy Sippel bagging the triple.

"It's redemption for last year, they knocked us out last year," she said.

But Vanderkolk said work was still needed on Barambah's possession game after the ball was turned over too easily.

Gunnettes' coach Tracey Clegg said her team was just outrun by Barambah's substitutions.

"I had 11 (players), three girls down," she said.

"My girls did nothing wrong it was just the fresh legs."

Wests leap over cross town rivals

THE Wests second-division was slow to get into gear but quick to take the lead.

One goal up against cross town rivals, the Gunners, Wests' winger Ryan Jacobs said he still felt worried at the start.

"In the first-half we had trouble communicating," he said.

This break down of communication hampered player positions ass the ball was turned over.

Jacobs said this way of starting a game had run through the Wests' entire season.

"At the start of the season a quarter of the team was new," he said.

Jacobs said the new players, himself included, played at a more individual level compared to a more team-oriented style of football.

He said this style stemmed from the lower age groups in the South Burnett.

But as time progressed so too did the Wests attack, netting another two goals to Gunners' one.

As the Wests progress through to the grand final Jacobs said he hopes to see an improvement in his team's start.

Gunner's Jordane Saunders his teams' downfall fell down to luck.

"There were just a few lucky shots from outside the box," he said.

With the Gunners due to play the Panthers in the preliminary final Saunders would like to see better placement on the field.

But Saunders said he was confident the Gunners would come back stronger at the weekend.


Men's second division minor semi-final

>> Nanango 0 - Barambah 0 (extra time)

>> Nanango 3 - Barambah 2 in a penalty shoot out. 

Major semi-final

>> Wests 2 - Gunners 0 Ladies' minor semi-final

>> Barambah 3 - Gunnettes 1

Ladies' major semi-final

>> Nanango 2 - Wests 0

Men's first division minor semi-final

>> Wests 4 - Barambah 1

Major semi-final

>> Gunners 2 - Nanango 1  

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