Panthers make best of tricky winds in finals

The Pambula Panthers got some early kicking options in to secure a narrow win over Narooma in Saturday's knockout semi-finals.
The Pambula Panthers got some early kicking options in to secure a narrow win over Narooma in Saturday's knockout semi-finals.

The Pambula Panthers have advanced after a wind-blown semi-final on Saturday.

The Panthers were at their home ground of the Pambula Sporting Complex to host the Narooma Lions with all grades engulfed in icy blustery winds throughout the day.

The conditions kept scores fairly restricted with matches never reaching any great heights, but the Panthers gritted their teeth and emerged in front with a 8-5-53 to 6-6-42 score over the Lions.

Frontman Jono Di Donato led the scoring for the Panthers with three majors to be named one of the club's best on ground performers during the match.

However, the main battle emerged through the middle with Jake Taylor, Shannon Butterfield and Sean Smith all maintaining an immense workrate through the ball contest to ensure the Panthers came up with some solid attacking options.

With the wind howling from the Southern end of the ground the Panthers got the jump in the first quarter, but with the wind at their backs in the second period, the Lions reeled the hosts back to sit within six points at the main break.

It was a third quarter blowout that gave the Panthers some security, kicking 20 points to Narooma's solitary behind in the period.

With their confidence firmed up the Panthers went in to the last quarter hungry for the result and were able to minimise reply options from the Lions and sneaking in a few last shots of their own at goals to secure the narrow lead.

The Panthers will now face the loser of the major semi-final to be played this weekend between the Merimbula Diggers and the Tathra Sea Eagles.

Earlier, the women's knockout final finished with one of the lowest scores in SCAFL history.

When Nicole Crowe took a neat mark and slotted a goal for Eden in the second quarter, no one could have realised it would be a winning score. The Tathra Eaglettes had been the first on the board, but it was a behind with the Eden Whalers going on to win 1-0-6 to 0-2-2.

With very few options to kick for, play became something of a rolling scrum with a cluster of players chasing each other around the field in an endless ball contest.

Earlier, Tathra had won the reserve grade contest with a similarly low-scoring encounter against the Merimbula Diggers.

The Sea Eagles kicked clear of their Merimbula rivals to win 4-9-33 to 3-2-20.

Ground officials even remarked about the weather conditions and said it was a very cold reception on the day, joking that fire pits should be installed for return bouts.