DESPITE some initial problems with the selection of the squad, with some late injuries to players, the Upper Great Southern team gave a great performance in winning their initial two games to reach another Landmark Championship Grand Final.
The first game saw Upper Great Southern draw to play the Great Northern Football League at East Fremantle on Thursday.
Great Northern had made a number of statements about their intention of improving on their recent performance at Landmark and Uppers knew they were in for a game against a confident side.
Certainly from the first bounce Great Northern were into it, but several hard physical clashes saw a couple of their players carried from the ground and they knew they were in for a game.
The early part of the first quarter was keenly contested, but with Rowan Astbury and Steele Morrell in good form in the rucks and rovers Matt Giumelli and Tyler Caldwell scouting extremely well, Uppers were able to gain control and increase their lead.
The defence in Brad Kain, Peter Joyce and Caen Taylor, with great backing from Brenton Luttrell and Josh Ball, were restricting the Northern players any opportunity and forwards Kade Ransted, Scott Moore and Troy Ditchburn in particular were prominent with Uppers gradually increasing their lead throughout the game.
If Uppers had been a little more accurate in their kicking, the winning margin would have been greater, but as it was they won 15 goals 16 to 9 goals 4.
After the first round of matches, UGS was in second place behind South West, and were drawn to play third placed side Lower South West who had defeated Peel by just one point in the early game at East Fremantle.
Friday’s game against Lower South West was played at Steel Blue (Bassendean) Oval.
Lower South West had started well against Peel but seemed to run out of legs getting towards the final siren, so Uppers were prepared for an initial rush from that side.
They weren’t disappointed as Lower South West, with some big strong bodies, came out running.
Although Uppers scored the first goal through some good forward play, Lower South West upped the ante and really put Uppers under pressure.
So much so that they took the lead and by late in the second term were leading 6 goals to 3.
The side was playing well and moving the ball forward, but when the ball was turned over, Uppers players were caught forward of the ball and LSW had loose players behind the play to take advantage.
However, with the rucks and midfielders on top, the teamwork came to the fore again, and Uppers kicked the next 8 goals of the game to keep LSW to just 2 more goals to win their second game by 16 points.
LSW kept the pressure on and their remaining 2 goals came in the latter half of the final term when they worked hard to take the game out, but the defence stood tall again, and Uppers had won their way through to another Grand Final.
The grand final opponents were virtually perennial Carnival opponents in South West, who had won their games against Ongerup and Peel fairly comfortably, and set the scene for a tough encounter.