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Magpies defy odds for final berth

The Busselton Magpies reserves are into the grand final after a seven-point comeback victory over Harvey Brunswick Leschenault in the SWFL preliminary final last Sunday.

HBL were undefeated in 38 games before the bounce and were hot favourites to advance to the grand final in their quest for back-to-back premierships.

But nobody told the Magpies, who hung on all day before kicking three goals to one in the final quarter to win 9.11 (65) to 9.4 (58) and earn the week off.

HBL kicked the first three goals but a potent Busselton forward line fought hard to wrestle some momentum back from the Lions, with Mason Hislop and Dave Whitehead outstanding for the Pies.

HBL seemed to pull away in the third quarter when star on-baller Matthew Bicknell kicked a trade-mark goal. But injuries cost the Lions in the final quarter as they seemed to lose their run and the goals dried up.

When Hislop again goaled at the 15-minute mark of the final term, the Magpies had stolen the lead from the league’s dominant team and they would never relinquish it as Dylan Patterson goaled with only two minutes remaining.

Magpies coach Greg Hodson said his side stuck to the task all day and if they played with the same dogged attitude, they would be hard to beat in the big dance.

“The boys are pretty pumped, a lot of them haven’t played in a grand final before and I’ve got complete faith in them to do the job because we don’t rely on any one player,” he said.

“Our strength lies in our midfield but we have a lot of depth across the 22 that can rotate through there.”

SWFL reserves leading goal- kicker Beau Chinnery will return in the grand final after missing the preliminary final for a family wedding.

HBL will now play the Eaton Boomers on Sunday at Hands Oval to keep their dreams of back-to-back flags alive.

“We’ve beaten both those sides in the last two weeks, so we’ll just take them head on and try to get our match-ups right,” Hodson said.

“This grand final has been two years in the making and the boys have really stuck together.”

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