The North Shore Tigers and University Blues will contest the 2020 Auckland AFL Grand final on Saturday, December 12 at North Harbour Stadium.
The Tigers overcame a gallant Waitakere Magpies side to run out 20 point winners, while the Uni Blues upset the in form Mt Roskill Saints to progress through to their fourth Grand Final in a row.
North Shore vs Waitakere
The North Shore Tigers booked their Grand Final ticket after a holding off a strong fight back by a gallant Waitakere side.
In perfect conditions for footy, the Tigers started strong with clean ball in the middle through Dale Johnson, Braydon Couper and stand in ruck man, Liam Mayes. The Tigers defenders were also working hard repelling all entries into their 50m arc.
It was much the same in the second quarter as the Tigers extended their lead with goals to competition leading goal scorer Justin du Toit ably supported by Mitch Ryan.
Going into half time, the momentum was with the Tigers and up by 4 goals.
Waitakere made some changes to their line up after the main break and it seemed to work as they started to dominate play and kick goals. The Tigers were outplayed for the majority of the quarter and conceded 4 goals and the score was all level going into the final term.
The tables turned yet again as Waitakere faded and the Tigers got control back. A fantastic goal by Mitch Ryan, kicking from deep in the forward pocket gave the minor premiers the lift they needed and they went on to kick 2 more while keeping the Magpies scoreless in the last through some superior defensive work.
“An excellent day for footy with a great game to go with it. Thanks to Waitak for another entertaining game. We had to bring our best after falling asleep in the third quarter but our composure combined with some shrewd tactics helped us get comfortably across the line in the end. Looking forward to next week and a shot at the title against Uni.” Dan Pearce – North Shore Tigers Captain
Mt Roskill vs University
The University Blues will play in their fourth consecutive Auckland AFL Grand Final after they upset the Mt Roskill Saints on Sunday.
Coming in as underdogs against a strong Roskill side, at home, was always going to be a big ask.
Having lost to Mt Roskill twice this season, the Blues focused on trusting their game plan and using their finals experience.
Matt Dalla-Libera dominated the ruck contest for Mt Roskill all game but it was Uni who managed to take control of the midfield through Reed Cathcart and Tim Stokes.
When Roskill managed to get the clearance out of the middle, the Uni half back line stood tall. Harison Manks took a number of intercept marks and Ben Hick showed his flair having a Best on Ground performance.
As with all finals, the score remained tight throughout as both teams rode the waves of pressure applied.
In the end it was Uni’s ability to rebound the ball with more effectiveness that saw them create and eventually take more opportunities. In finals, that is all it can come down to.
“Hugely proud of the team today, we managed to put everything we have been working on into action in one game. From the front to the back each person contributed what they had to. Its a great feeling to once again have the opportunity to win the flag. Three in a row has not been done in a long time (if at all) but there is a determined and classy North Shore side to get through first.” Chris Mundell, University.
“Congratulations to the Blues on a great win. We’ll be back and better next year. Good luck to both sides in the grand final.” Will Morris, Mt Roskill.
Story – AAFL.co.nz