Seagulls Secure Grand Final Berth
Photo courtesy of Darrian Traynor - Getty Images
Williamstown has won through to a VFL Grand Final for the first time since 2011 after defeating Essendon by 12-points in front of a packed crowd at North Port Oval on Sunday.
The Seagulls, led brilliantly by skipper Ben Jolley, weathered all that Essendon could throw at them at multiple stages during the match, eventually running out 15.12 (102) to 12.18 (90) winners and booking themselves a place in this Sunday's VFL Grand Final against Box Hill at Etihad Stadium.
Leigh Masters finished the game with three goals, including two clutch goals in the final term, while Cameron Lockwood, Sean Tighe and Mitch Banner were also multiple goalkickers.
The Seagulls dominated the inside 50's early in the game, but despite the entries were unable to capitalise while the Bombers made the most of theirs to hold a one-goal lead at the first change.
By the second term, Williamstown looked to have settled into the game after a frantic opening, and began picking apart the Bombers with great link up play across the ground while locking down on their opponents when the Bombers went forward. A four-goal to two second quarter was the result, and a five-point lead at halftime.
The third quarter was one for the ages.
After Essendon kicked the first goal of the quarter to get their noses in front, the Seagulls piled on five goals in a row, with most coming from their smaller, running players to quickly jump out to a 27-point lead.
Essendon then clawed their way back in the final 15 minutes of the quarter, kicking five goals in a row of their own to astonishingly hold a five-point lead at the final change.
After a stalemate in the opening section of the final term, the Seagulls shook loose of their opponents when Masters kicked two goals in the space of 90 seconds to break the game open.
From there, a goal to Mitch Banner and a favourable bounce to Critchley which allowed him to goal sealed the deal for Williamstown, in what will go down as one of the club's most famous victories.
While scenes were jovial post-game, it became clear that the attention soon turned to their Grand Final opponents Box Hill, as the club looks to win it's first VFL premiership since 2003, and it's first as a standalone club since 1990.
The 2015 VFL Grand Final will be played at Etihad Stadium this Sunday, with the first bounce at 3.00pm
Williamstown: 15.12 (102)
Essendon: 12.18 (90)
Goals: Masters 3, Lockwood 2, Tighe 2, Banner 2, Dunell, Gallucci, Conway, E.Carr, Anastasio, Critchley.
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