Waratahs FC finished the Orange District Football Association A Grade season as undefeated minor premiers and backed that up in Saturday's major semi-final, earning direct passage to September 22's decider with a solid win over Barnstoneworth FC.
The stand-out defensive side all season with just 11 goals conceded, Waratahs once again produced a clean sheet to keep that record intact, finding the back of the net on three occasions to claim a convincing win and earn another grand final berth.
Their win also sets up a massive all-Barnstoneworth preliminary final this weekend, with Barnies' United outfit surviving their sudden-death, minor semi-final and progressing with a 2-nil win over the Cowra Eagles.
Barnies FC skipper Brendon Manning cut a disappointed figure after his side's major semi-final loss thanks to a performance came in sharp contrast to his side's recent form, but is relieved to live to fight another day.
We were gutted with the result... we just have to cop it on the chin.Barnstoneworth FC skipper Brendon Manning
"We were gutted with the result ," he said.
"The scale of that scoreline didn't reflect the toughness of the game. They scored two goals from our sloppy defensive clearances. But we were simply unable to get on the scoresheet because we were not good enough in the end.
"We just have to cop it on the chin and get ready for a blockbuster."
The minor semi-final was a spectacle was all those on hand at Bernie Stedman Field, Barnies' first score coming from attacker Lachie Peet after a pinpoint clearance from Jerome Luke.
Cowra launched raid after raid but kept coming up short with defenders Tom Radnedge, Bill Foster, Ibby Yunusa and Aaron Driver a force to be reckon with.
In recent weeks the side's star keeper Matt Delaney has been plying his trade on the wing due to United's lack of playing numbers, and manager Chris Jacobs scheduled a one-on-one, pre-match, coaching session with him with the focus on turning him into a human obstacle.
Jacobs revealed to the waiting media after the match his last instruction was simply to "just get in the road".
"It looked to me that Delaney was so successful in his mission a distinct outline of the match ball could be seen imprinted on his ribs," Jacobs said.
Barnies' second came after a free kick from 30 metres out saw dead-ball specialist Alex Elliot deliver a clinical pass that dropped into no-man's-land between the keeper and the Cowra backline. Sam Sutton drifted unseen on the back post to nod in the goal.
"To Cowra's credit they pushed players forward to get a foot hold in the game, but our back line held out," Jacobs said.
A huge crowd is expected for Saturday afternoon's massive intra-club, grand final qualifier between FC and United, the two side's finished second and third respectively, and spectators are advised to get to the game early to avoid any chance of missing the kick off due to traffic or security bag searches at the Bernie Stedman Field turnstiles.
Waratahs actually have a fortnight to wait for the decider, because this year's Champions of Champions clash comes on September 15. As minor premiers they'll face Sydney's Southern Districts Association in that clash.
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