GNFLW finals: Rams stun Towns in final quarter shootout to set up grand final rematch against Chapman Valley

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Rams have qualified for their second grand final in a row after overcoming Towns.  Pictured with the ball is Grace Yokwe.
Camera IconRams have qualified for their second grand final in a row after overcoming Towns. Pictured with the ball is Grace Yokwe. Credit: Justine Rowe

It’s a grand final rematch for the GNFLW after the Rams stunned the Towns in the preliminary final on Saturday to book their place in the decider this weekend.

The Rams won a final quarter shootout to take the win 4.2 (26) to 2.5 (17).

Having not beaten a top-two side in five attempts this season, the Rams were coming in as underdogs but were boosted as Mikenna Schultz recovered from an ankle complaint to take the field.

They were also coming off a commanding performance after dismantling Railways to hold them to a single go in the first semifinal.

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Towns meanwhile were outplayed by the Royals in their semifinal but given barely anyone has been able to match Chapman Valley this season would have been confident they could get the job done having beaten the Rams in their last encounter by 10 points.

The Rams are one of the highest scoring teams in the competition while the Bulldogs have one of the best defences in a contrast of styles and it seems defence was the winner early on.

The clash followed an eerily similar pattern to their last meeting as scoring was at a premium early with Towns scoring the only major in the first quarter to lead by six at the break.

The second quarter was more of the same except this time the Rams got the only goal to tie it up at halftime as both teams were upping the pressure.

It would see no goals scored in the third term as Towns kicked three behinds to the Rams’ two to take a one-point lead into the final quarter — as they had done in their previous meeting.

However, after a tense opening three quarters, the Rams’ attacking game came to the fore as they started to get the goals flowing.

Selina Kiddle, Rachel Trusso, Helaynah Nutter and Lilly Darcey all had singles for the Rams and Towns could not find a response scoring just one goal in the final term but they will rue their missed opportunities.

They kicked 1.2 for the quarter and 1.5 for the half as they ended up with more scoring shots but on the wrong side of the ledger as the Bulldogs bowed out of the 2022 finals in straight sets after dominating most of the season except for their matches with Chapman Valley.

For the Rams they are now in their second grand final in as many years as they will once again battle Chapman Valley for the title.

The Royals may be a step too far but the Rams were victorious last year and will take confidence in the fact they know how to beat them in the big dance.

The GNFLW grand final will take place at 1.30pm at WA Country Builders Stadium on Saturday.

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