2017 Grand Final awaits the Lions

 
Subiaco are heading to a fourth consecutive WAFL Grand Final after defeating South Fremantle by 32-points in a Preliminary decider yesterday.

The Maroons got a scare when the Dogs kicked the first three goals of the game but responded with a resounding fightback to comprehensively win the game.

Bernie Naylor medallist Liam Ryan was impressive in the outing with 20 disposals and two goals. The returning Brad Stevenson was also influential with three majors and livewire Liam Baker added three.

Adam Cockie and Lachlan Delahunty shared the top ball-winners with 23 apiece. The two were massive in the first half to get the Maroons going.  Scott Hancock was handy with 18 disposals and a goal whilst Wayde Twomey directed the Lions off the back-line with 20 touches.

Subi enjoyed a season best performance from 2017 signing Gus Litherland who was incredible against the South Fremantle big forwards. Litherland received praise for his second and third efforts against the Dogs.
 
The Lions were sweating early when South Fremantle burst out of the blocks. When Hayden Schloithe guided through the South’s third straight early in the first the Maroons had a lot of work today. The minor premiers woke from their slumber halfway through the term and were up and about after goals from Liam Baker. Subi trailed by 10-points at quarter time.

Subiaco demonstrated why they were the most dominant season in the second quarter with six goals to one. Electric forward Liam Ryan lit up the stage with a turn and burn goal and a massive moment came when defender Aaron Heal found the footy on the 50 arc and slotted his 4th ever career goal for the Lions. Subiaco established dominance to lead by 22 at half time.

The Bulldogs threatened a fight back after some smooth work by ex-Essendon Corey Del Olio but it was quickly defused by a strong defensive shutdown by the disciplined Lions. Bradley Stevenson became a beacon in the forward line for Subi and provided a strong key target. Two Stevenson goals in the third helped keep the Dogs at bay.
 
A gritty last quarter helped the Lions round out an impressive team performance. South Fremantle felt they had a sniff after a big Tim Kelly goal but Stevenson ground out any hopes of a comeback with his third major. The Maroons finished with a 32 point victory and a ticket to the 133rd WAFL Grand Final.
 

GAME CHANGERS

BAKER IGNITES ON BIG STAGE
How a week can change fortunes in football. Young forward Liam Baker was electric for the Lions against South Fremantle after having a nightmare game against Peel in the 2nd Semi. Baker was un-harmoniously crunched by Docker Zac Dawson in the first game of the finals and had to be stretchered off, but the Lake Grace product got back on the horse against the Bulldogs. His defensive pressure and innate ability around the goals was crucial for the Lions. He finished with 17 disposals and three majors.

GUS GROWS IN STATURE
It was one of the best games Gus Litherland has produced in the Maroon and Gold and it came at the fitting time of a Preliminary Final. Litherland was tasked with minimising the impact of SF key forward Ben Saunders and he limited the ex-Bernie Naylor medallist to six disposals and zero goals. Litherland was hungry for the contest and demonstrated a tremendous work ethic. The ex-Hawthorn man has been an important inclusion in 2017.

STRONG LIONS
The 22 that lined up against South Fremantle will stand as one of the strongest teams Subiaco has provided all year. The only players missing from the mix would be 2016 Outridge medallist Chris Phelan, defender Hayden Kennedy or young ruck Adam Creeper. Subi will have some big selection decisions coming this week with Phelan successfully getting through a game with the D-League. Kennedy and Creeper could also be potential returns depending on match-ups vs the Thunder.  
WHATS NEXT
Subiaco are heading to their fourth WAFL Grand Final and have a chance to redeem themselves against Peel. The Lions enter the match as under-dogs and will be hungry to atone for the frustrating loss in the 2nd Semi.
 
SUBIACO                         2.5      8.7       11.9    14.14     (98)
SOUTH FREO                   4.3      5.3       7.5     10.6        (66)
  
BEST: L.Baker, A.Litherland, A.Cockie, L.Delahunty, W.Twomey
 
GOALS: 3 L.Baker, B.Stevenson, 2 L.Ryan, K.Halligan, 1 M.Walters, B.Sokol, A.Heal, S.Hancock
 
 

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