Sunday’s grand final rematch between South Bunbury and Collie descended into confusion right at the end with the Tigers eventually taking the four premiership points.
Brynn Francis took a strong mark in the forward line and the final siren sounded as he went back to take his kick. He slotted the goal, his eighth of the match, and the Tigers bench ran on to celebrate their victory.
But it appeared one umpire had not heard the siren and prepared for another centre bounce with the Collie bench pleading for a head count. Eventually it was agreed the game had ended with the goal and Souths had won by three points.
Collie started the round three game fast, with no signs of the demons that plagued them early on grand final day last year against the Tigers.
Joel Houghton nailed the first goal and Jayce Fontana added the second soon after with the Eagles rebounded the ball with real pace from half back to half forward.
South Bunbury’s only score in the first term came from a quick snap from Ryan Bennell. He was grabbed by a defender just as he unleashed his shot which caused it to hit the post.
Houghton continued to win plenty of the ball but was a little wayward infront of goal, adding two behinds. The second was a shame – the quality of the overhead mark really deserved a goal.
He atoned with a top-class major from a tight angle after the quarter time siren to give his side a 3.6.24 to 0.1.1 lead at the first change.
Tigers coach Mark Docking was blunt with the reigning premiers, telling them their first quarter simply wasn’t good enough.
Like any great team, they were quick to respond.
Brynn Francis, who returned to the SWFL this season, nailed the first three goals of the second term for the Tigers – winning the ball with ease and never looking pressured on set shots.
When the ball finally made its way to the far end of the ground, Eagle Jack Davidson produced a great snap around his body to add six points to the board.
Tiger Jack Wilson got into the action, booting the next two majors to give South Bunbury their first lead of the game.
Francis then added his fourth for the game to help South Bunbury lead 6.5.41 to 4.6.30 at half time.
The intensity lifted further in the third term with both sides knowing the winner would find themselves on top of the SWFL 2017 ladder tonight. It took 10 minutes of play with neither side giving an inch before Mark Williams could kick the opening major of the quarter before Francis kicked his fifth major.
Houghton got back into the thick of things while Davidson produced another clutch snap under pressure to trim the margin to one point.
Kade Wallrodt scored a very valuable goal against the breeze but Jebb Swallow added one of his own just before the final change to see the three quarter time margin favouring South Bunbury by a single point.
Collie league coach Clint Swallow told his side to keep the pressure on in the last and they were close enough if they were good enough.
Docking told his troops the game was there for the taking and it was Francis who started the final term with goal number six. Collie were quick to respond thanks to Fontana.
The lead continued to seesaw throughout the last quarter. Liam Reuben won the ball in the goal square and kicked true before Leigh Kohlmann wrestled the lead back at the other end.
Paul Rinder put Collie back in front before Francis scored his seventh. It looked like the Eagles might win when Fontana goaled but Francis broke local hearts with the final kick to seal the 12.12.84 to 12.9.81 result.
South Bunbury will look to keep their winning streak alive this Saturday night against HBL while Collie will hope to bounce back against the Bunbury Bulldogs on Sunday at Payne Park.