The Yanac Hockey Club's quest for consecutive triple premierships is back on track after their Open and Women's teams both won their respective preliminary finals on Saturday to join their Under 16 team in the Wimmera Hockey Association grand finals. Last season the club became the first to win all three premierships in the one season, and they are primed to attempt to repeat this feat on Warracknabeal's Anzac Park on Saturday, although there are still three teams determined to deny them this honour.
Open: After suffering their first defeat in three seasons in their semi final, the Yanac Tigers returned to form with victory over the Nhill Rangers to qualify for a record 14th consecutive grand final. The game started at a quick pace and it was the Tigers who made the most of their opportunities with three goals in the first 15 minute despite some intense pressure from the Rangers.
Yanac scored another goal early in the second half before the Rangers' goalkeeper suffered a leg injury and was unable to take any further part in the game. Despite the disadvantage of a weakened back line, the Rangers continued to attack but the Tigers defence held firm.
The Tigers now take some ominous momentum into the grand final next weekend against the Warrack Hoops.
Women: Yanac controlled most of the play right from the start of their preliminary final against Kaniva, but it took until the last minutes of the first half before Erin Alexander put them ahead in the face of some solid defence. The second half was more of the same, with Yanac controlling the ball, and despite scoring another two goals, both off the stick of Alexander, Kaniva never gave up and kept up the pressure right until the end of the game. This result sets up a fourth grand final between Yanac and the Dimboola Roos in as many seasons.
Under 16: The closest of the three preliminary finals was played out between the Kaniva Raiders and Nhill Leopards in the under 16 competition, with a Kaniva goal in the first five minutes proving to be the only difference between the teams. The Raiders who now face the daunting task of taking on the undefeated Yanac Warriors in a battle for the premiership next Saturday.
Preliminary Final Results
Open: Yanac Tigers 4 (Goals - N Alexander 2, A Magrath, T Alexander; Best - T Alexander, N Alexander, L Reichenbach) defeated Nhill Rangers 0 (Best - S Bone, J Reichelt, L Marra)
Women: Yanac 3 (Goals - E Alexander 3; Best - E Alexander, N Harding, M Farmers, C Beattie) defeated Kaniva 0 (Best - L Stimson, S Williams, J Wallis, O Williams)
Under 16: Kaniva Raiders 1 (Goal - M Goodwin; Best - M Goodwin, S Braisby, I Williams) defeated Nhill Leopards 0 (K Clark, T McBride, C Koop)