Panthers pounce ahead

SCAFL best and fairest Panther Aaron Proctor with runner-up Digger Aaron Daley and major sponsor from Merimbula RSL Michael Mutsch.

SCAFL best and fairest Panther Aaron Proctor with runner-up Digger Aaron Daley and major sponsor from Merimbula RSL Michael Mutsch.

The Pambula Panthers defeated the Merimbula Diggers 20.11 (131) to 6.7 (43). 

The Pambula Panthers gained direct entry to the Sapphire Coast AFL grand final after a solid showing over the Merimbula Diggers on Saturday. 

The club is also celebrating after taking two major honours at the SCAFL presentation night last week. 

The Panthers were named club champions in the local league after exceptional performances across all age divisions. 

Aaron Proctor was also crowned the league’s best and fairest. 

The Eden Whalers were in attendance and celebrated their strongest season in half a decade. 

Conditions were ominous at the Pambula Sporting Complex on Saturday. 

However, the Panthers were fielding arguably their strongest line-up for the year and were ready for a tough clash with Merimbula. 

Right from the first bounce, the Panthers took control, the midfield of Proctor brothers and Justin “Judda” Pilgrim got the ball moving swiftly out of the centre.

They had clean hands and footwork sending it forward accurately to tall forward Tom Hammond. 

Hammond cleared some great grabs to kick three first quarter goals. 

At the break, the Panthers had also held the Diggers attack goalless and headed up the scoreboard with a 35-point margin. 

Coach Sean Smith was pleased with the endeavour and hard play at the ball, singling out some great individual performances by the backline players. 

The second quater resumed in a similar fashion, with the Panthers dominating the play all around the ground.

Shane Garrett, Dillon Cook and Seth Blood playing across the backline were pillars of strength, their constant hard-hitting attack on the ball was one of the highlights of the day. 

Dave Townsend was another who stood up in this big game, repelling the Diggers’ attack through the middle.

At one point Townsend made a great run out of the back line then, with a bullet like pass, hit Tom on the chest, which resulted in another Panthers goal. 

Going into the final break, the crowd could sense the Panthers were on the cusp of a back-to-back grand final berth.

The Panthers held a commanding 63 point lead and were looking unstoppable. 

Mitch Cameron and Scott Richmond played their usual reliable game.

Richmond kicked six majors in the contest. 

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