BENDIGO Senior Secondary College has won its way through to the Herald Sun Shield after a thrilling victory over cross-town rival Catherine McAuley College in the School Sport Victoria Premier League grand final.
The Lions controlled the majority of tWednesday’s showdown at the QEO but withstood a withering final quarter burst from CMC to cling to a 6.4.51 to 5.8.38 victory.
Lions coach Rick Coburn said post game he was extremely proud of his side, and paid tribute to the challenge the determined CMC team presented.
The game was marred by a heavy third-quarter collision that saw CMC midfielder Flynn Perez stretchered off the ground and as a precaution taken to hospital.
In contrast to the meeting between the sides three weeks ago it was the Lions who jumped out of the blocks, Caleb Fisher opening the scoring with a major just a handful of minutes into the game.
The Lions’ defence, led by Deklan Loveridge and Schischka, held CMC goalless until eight minutes into the second term when Charlie Robinson bobbed up inside 50 and goaled to level the scores.
A goal to Alex Jenkyn and a scintillating piece of transition play from BSSC leading to Riley Matricardi waltzing into an open goal saw Senior’s lead pushed out to 13 points with less than a minute left in the first half.
From the resultant restart CMC took the ball out of the middle and found Sean O’Farrell inside forward 50 as the half time siren sounded.
But the talented forward couldn’t convert the chance from 40 metres out, pulling his kick left and through for a behind as CMC went into the interval 12 points in arrears.
The Lions started the second half as well as they could have hoped, Matricardi marking in front of the legions of CMC students in attendance.
Copping a healthy dose of goalkicking advice from over the fence, he calmly went back and threaded the needle, celebrating by turning to the crowd as he gave BSSC a three-goal break.
It didn’t last long though, as the two sides went goal-for goal. Daniel Clohsey was felled just a minute later and won a 50m penalty, coolly guiding home a set shot of his own to again reduce the buffer to two goals.
Only minutes later another 50m penalty was awarded, this time to BSSC’s Phil Moi Moi, who launched his own reply from 45m out to reinstate the 18-point gap.
The game went into a stalemate until it slammed to a halt after 14 minutes, when Perez was clattered into in a marking contest and fell hard to the turf.
The game was stopped for several minutes as the Bendigo Pioneer was stretchered off, after which Hunter Lawrence goaled from a resultant 50m penalty to again peg the margin back to two goals.
The next change to that margin came via Caleb Fisher at the start of the final term, when he marked and drilled a set shot from long range to make it a three-goal game once more.
Fisher had another chance just moments later, but pulled his kick left and had it ushered through for a rushed behind.
From that point, just minutes into the final term, BSSC would not register another score as CMC dominated general play.
Robinson’s second goal reduced the gap back to 12 points and CMC had countless chances thereafter to capitalise on their momentum.
Lawrence, O’Farrell and Harry McCormick all missed opportunities before William Wallace took a huge mark and converted to make it a three-point game with five minutes left.
CMC scrambled in defence to repel several BSSC attacks but both of their best late chances were stopped by Schischka, who dominated across half back all day and took two telling defensive marks to ice the game.
Schischka was awarded the best on ground medal for the winners, while Hunter Lawrence was named CMC’s best.
BSSC goes on to play ACC grand final winner St Bernard’s in the Sun Shield semi final in mid-July.