Calder’s 2019 NAB League campaign has drawn to a close at the hands of the Sandringham Dragons in a rainy semi final played on Saturday.
The Cannons were within arm’s length for the majority of the contest but were in patches outclassed by the Dragons who were coming off a qualifying final defeat of their own.
Four un-answered goals to kick off proceedings helped set up the match for the Dragons who were kicking with an ominous breeze.
The 8.7 (55) to 1.12 (18) scoreline at Ikon Park is a far cry from the 109-point defeat the Cannons suffered at the hands of the Dragons back in Round 1.
Calder was able to outscore its highly-fancied opponent in two of the four quarters and won the contested possession (+8) and clearance (+5) counts.
But it was its inability to capitalise and find clear-cut chances that proved costly.
Sam Ramsay remained busy in the engine room and was the most prolific Cannon, registering 32 disposals and six clearances, while counterpart Daniel Mott also impressed with 23 and nine.
Seventeen-year-old Jackson Cardillo was the side’s only goal scorer, converting late in the third quarter.
Ben Overman and Giacomo Thomas were defensively sound in the 37-point loss, with Lachy Gollant, Josh Hotchkin and Harrison pair Minton-Connell and Andronaco also named in the best players.
The Oakleigh Chargers awaited in a preliminary final for the winner.
Calder came out with a vengeance but despite showing flashes of potential, Sandringham was able to punish any turnovers with clinical forward 50 entries.
The Dragons subsequently booted the first four goals of the game with 24 points separating the two sides on a damp deck at the first change of ends.
Large chunks of the second quarter were played on the Cannons’ terms, but they were left to rue their missed opportunities when, despite registering three more scoring shots (four sole behinds to one goal), the lead extended to 26 at the main break.
The low-scoring affair continued in the second half as the Dragons continued to stamp their authority.
But not giving up has been a trait that had steered the Cannons to its first semi final since 2014. And when Cardillo steadied through his set shot against the breeze, there was still a glimmer of hope.
The 35-point margin heading into the final stanza was going to be hard to reel in, but Calder’s confidence was sky-high knowing it booted six unanswered goals a week earlier to make it to this stage.
But the yips continued in front of the goal face and deja vu was experienced; more scoring shots – five for the quarter for five behinds as a return – but unfortunately no change of fortune.
Nine NAB League Boys players (Harrison Jones, Daniel Mott, Curtis Brown, Brodie Newman, Sam Ramsay, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Nathan Stewart, Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans) will now begin preparations for AFL and state draft combines which will be held from October 1.