GNL. The Rocky Cape Tavern Smithton Saints’ men had a confidence-boosting 3-0 win over South Launceston, earning the right to host a semi-final in the process.
The Saints will take on the Suns again this Saturday at 2pm, with the winner set to play the loser of first-placed Devonport and second-placed City Marians next weekend.
Andrew Ollington was the first to break through for Smithton, taking advantage of a goalkeeper rebound to smash home the opener, while Nathan Johns and Joe Coombs stood firm at the other end to block opposition attacks.
Smithton’s Nigel Kingston set up John Innes-Smith late in the second half with a perfectly timed ground pass; Innes-Smith storming into the circle and belting the ball low into the goals to give his side a handy 2-0 lead.
Rhys Burgess extended the end margin to three in the second half with a close-range goal, as the Saints held on to secure a home final for the first time in over 10 years.
Coach Jarrad Poke was pleased with his side’s efforts this season, pointing to a strong defence and a healthy squad as important factors in the lead up to the finals.
“We’ve had fewer goals scored against us compared to previous years, while we’re getting the job done in attack,” he said.
“We’ve got most of our team fit – I think it’s going to be who gets the job done on the day.”
Smithton’s GNL women finished their season with a 5-0 loss to Burnie Baptist, and while the side may have ended in last place with just two wins this year, coach Bek Lardner was optimistic about the challenges ahead.
The Saints had several opportunities to push forward in their final game for the year but couldn’t capitalise on their chances, with Burnie able to score the defining goals. Joan Reid, Lardner and Sonia Poke were named among the best on ground.
With 38 players on the pitch throughout the season highlighting the difficulty of maintaining a constant squad, Lardner thanked local clubs who had helped out throughout the year.
“Every week, they’ve stepped up and helped,” she said. “We’ve done well to get a team on each week.
“I think the quality of young players throughout the club that will hopefully step up to GNWL next year [has been positive].”
The club recently held its Best and Fairest vote count for the 2014 season, with Andrew Ollington taking out honours for the men and Sonia Poke earning the top prize for the women.
Meanwhile, the Saints’ North West Division 3 Men will look to continue their impressive season of 17 wins with a home final against Burnie Baptist tonight at 7:45pm, with the U/16s also earning a home final against Burnie on Friday at 7pm.