THE LIONHEARTS

BREAKING FREE: Lions star Luke Patterson breaks free with the ball while watched by team-mates Ryan Finn, left, and Tyler Eckert during the tense match. Photo: Lorelie Pycroft
BREAKING FREE: Lions star Luke Patterson breaks free with the ball while watched by team-mates Ryan Finn, left, and Tyler Eckert during the tense match. Photo: Lorelie Pycroft

The "Lionhearted" men of Port Pirie won a thriller in Port Augusta on Saturday to qualify for the Spencer Gulf League football grand final and make their hometown proud.

After facing bogey-team South Augusta for four years during which they were unable to beat the northern team, the PropRisdon Lions took the second semi-final by five points.

The upset puts the Lions into premiership favourtism, particularly with South star Billy-Joe Russell being sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone suffered in the final.

This means South, if they beat Port in the preliminary final in Port Augusta on Saturday, will be without their 14-goal forward if they make the grand final.

Final scores in the second semi-final were PropRisdon 13-10 (88); South Augusta 13-5 (83).

In what was a day out for Port Pirie teams, Port clung to a one-point win against Central Augusta in first semi-final at Memorial Oval on Sunday.

This means Port will play South at the weekend for the right to challenge Lions in the grand final.

The Bulldogs have amazingly risen to an at-least third-placed finish this season after being wooden-spooners last year.

FInal scores: Port 7-11 53); Central Augusta 8-4 (52).

Our football reporter says:

A brave PropRisdon outfit has won a spot in the grand final after a hard-fought five-point win against four-time current premiers South Augusta in their best result for some years, having previously lost 13 matches in a row to their northern rival.

South had not lost a final since 2015 with eight wins on the bounce before they ran into a Lions side that decided enough was enough, they were not losing this time.

The blue-and-gold flew out the gates as they had to on the road and had six of the first eight goals with Wallace and Fuller chiming in for a pair each before a late South goal left the margin at 21 points.

An even second quarter left South still 14 points down at the main break before a big defensive third term left South in front with a quarter to go. In the past, this is when South would run over sides, but a resilient Lions and a slim bench with injuries left this one up in the air till the last siren.

Dogs kick to victory: P14

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