Swans still in the hunt
A REJUVENATED Lismore will take valuable momentum into the Summerland AFL grand final on Saturday.
The Swans will play Tweed Coast in the season decider after an emphatic 113-point, 24.23 (167) to 8.6 (54), preliminary final victory over Ballina at Round Mountain Oval, Pottsville, on Saturday, coming after Lismore had defeated the Byron Magpies in the first semi-final the previous week.
The Swans’ runaway win on Saturday began with a 10-goals-to-two first quarter, taking full advantage of a strong breeze after winning the toss.
Lismore ruckman Jason Bevan fed his fleet-footed midfielders with plenty of ball, with the run and carry of Alex Aitken, David Woon, Rhys Lavery and Matt Meadows off the half-forward line giving Swans forwards Jak Johnston and Daniel Moloney direct ball out in front.
Johnston honoured several passes by converting his shots to goals, kicking four for the day, while George Massa bobbed in and out of the forward line with seven majors. Dean Webb played a handy cameo, slotting in three goals from centre half-forward.
The Swans kept up their work rate in the second term, against the breeze, booting 4.6 to 1.4 to effectively kill off the contest by half-time.
Aitken was arguably best afield, the Lismore midfielder setting up countless forays into the forward line.
Ballina, sorely missing ball-magnet Travis Clarke’s clinical disposal, ruckman Tim King’s aerial prowess and Johnathan Leach’s role as a stop-gap man in the key posts, relied heavily on Rory Redford in the middle while youngsters Liam Stafford and Lee Pittavino, and Pat Bulzomi were tireless in their contribution for the Bombers.
Ballina’s defenders, with Maurice Lawless and Matt Bettesworth leading the way, tightened up late in the game but the damage had been done.
The Swans’ win, however, ended on a sour note with the courageous Moloney accidentally crunched high late in the final quarter after which he was taken to Tweed hospital in an ambulance.