McLaren and Encounter Bay play out a thrilling draw in Great Southern football

UP HE FLIES: Encounter Bay's in form forward and onballer Eli Horrocks takes to the skies to pull in an exciting grab against McLaren on Saturday.
UP HE FLIES: Encounter Bay's in form forward and onballer Eli Horrocks takes to the skies to pull in an exciting grab against McLaren on Saturday.

The Bays knew that if they won this game, a finals berth was probably assured. They came out against a strong breeze and played with ferocity and purpose. 

McLaren had the ball in their forward lines, but the Bay defence desperately prevented any scoring until Marr snapped the first goal of the game after 10 minutes. Horrocks scored the equaliser for Bays as the desperate battle continued.

The breeze however helped McLaren and their strong forwards Watchman and Mutton each goaled to give them a two goal lead at quarter time.

Now it was Bays turn with the wind and they hammered the forward lines. Karpany was tackled high and he goaled. Ben Davis marked and kicked another as Bays hit the front. 

Jed Wilson was doing a lot of hard work in the centre, giving the forwards plenty of opportunities. Davis-Neale was being nullified, but Karpany, Horrocks, Davis and Barnes were in the thick of things as they kicked six goals for the term and McLaren only scored a point. 

Ben Davis received a great tap from Callum Tonkin and kicked the goal of the day from the boundary and Bays were looking good.

Half time scores were Encounter Bay 7-6 to McLaren 3-2.

McLaren came out with determination after half time and they put the pressure on the Bay backlines. Brett Ellis received two telling frees and goaled from both. Watchman who was looking dangerous kicked another, as did James Matthews and they were back in the game, only a goal down at three quarter time.

It still looked like Bays game as the breeze, although lessened, was at their backs. Good team footy finished with Kleinig goaling on the run, but it was to be their last as McLaren lifted. 

Good forward movement to Mutton resulted in a goal, then the  running James Matthews brought them to within a point. It was desperate stuff for the final few minutes with no-one shirking the issue. Eventually McLaren kicked a point to level the scores. This was the situation when the siren sounded to a stunned group of players and supporters. The scores 8-9 each.

The finals are shaping up to be very interesting. McLaren have come back to the field after early season dominance, but are still in a good position. Ellis with three goals was their best, Zohar brilliant at times and Fenoughty again played well. Loots, Bollenhagen, Bradwell and James Matthews also came under notice.

The Bays were very impressive for three quarters and could cause problems for others in the finals. Wilson returned to form and the three Tonkin boys played well, along with Kleinig, Horrocks, Davis, Karpany and Barnes.

The draw was enough to put Bays into fifth spot and they should stay there with only one game to go.