Tanti’s Take: First semi a major obstacle on way to GNFL premiership success

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Kaiden Dann kicked 11. He’s shown in a file image, leaping over Rovers’ Riley Barham.
Camera IconKaiden Dann kicked 11. He’s shown in a file image, leaping over Rovers’ Riley Barham. Credit: Pic: Arctic Moon, Arctic Moon Photography

I’ve noted in the past only five of 60 Great Northern Football League premiers so far have won from the first semifinal.

The first semi is where you play if you finish third or fourth after the qualifying rounds.

But there is a caveat. Usually, the top two teams (sometimes just the top team) are so far ahead of the pack that the best a first semi qualifier can truly hope for is to lose the preliminary final and finish third.

Brigades know this only too well. In 13 seasons between 1998 and 2010, they reached 11 preliminary finals and lost 10.

For the most part they went as far as they realistically could.

Anyway, I’m only making mention of the above as the top four this season are even.

Right now, Railways are flag favourites, but no one would seriously discount Rovers, Northampton or Brigades and, for what it’s worth, we haven’t had a premier emerge from the first semi since 1996.

To last week, and Northampton ended a run of losses to Rovers at nine games, while the 80-point win 19.9 (123) to 6.7 (43) was their biggest over them since 1993 when they set their record of 121 points.

Rovers’ 43 points was their lowest against Norths in 29 years, and the Demons have now lost three successive away games — something they haven’t done since 2016. Brigades’ 211 points was their second best against the Valley, and the 180-point margin beat the previous record of 178 points set in 2003.

Kaiden Dann’s 11 goals made him the 11th from the Hawks to kick 10 or more goals in a game.

The total also equalled the club record against the Royals, as Barry Craine also kicked 11 in 1962 and Dale Williamson nailed 11 in 2008.

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