DEFENCE: Aaron Walker overwhelmed the Thistles defence to add three goals to his personal tally.
DEFENCE: Aaron Walker overwhelmed the Thistles defence to add three goals to his personal tally. Dogwhistle

Byron breezes past opposition to finals

THE rain held off just long enough on Sunday for the Rails Hotel Wildcats and the Great Northern Rams to secure their places in the Anzac Cup and the Callan McMillan pre-season competition finals for 2017.

The Wildcat girls set the tone for the day, shredding their Richmond Rovers counterparts in a 7-1 drubbing. The win puts the girls through to the finals at 5.45pm on April 21 at Oakes Oval Lismore.

Lismore's young Thistles boys started their semi final clash with the Rams with plenty of vigour only to have their enthusiasm dampened by Byron's experienced attacking unit.

Ram's Joel Wood made it look easy, finishing some smooth attacking combinations to take two goals in the first ten minutes.

Five minutes later, Thistles took one back in the skirmish following a corner. Four minutes after that, Rams shooting star Gianluca Bongiovanni executed a spectacular bicycle that pinballed around the Thisltes defenders and into the net to give Byron its third goal inside 20 minutes.

Valiant defending and some outstanding work from the Thistles' keeper held back waves of Rams raids for the remainder of the first half.

The second halfbegan as the first, with a flanking run from Will Ennis, a cross to Aaron Walker and a clean finish to make it 4-1 two minutes in.

Five minutes later Ronan Karup battled through a crowded Thistles midfield to deliver another cross to Aaron Walker who tapped in his second and the Rams' fifth.

Midway through the half the Rams conceded a penalty but Byron's young Keeper Griffin Bambach dashed Thistles' hopes with a superb save.

A minute later, a shot from Aaron Walker rebounded from the Thistles keeper onto the boot of flanker Kare Isaac who buried it in the net.

Thistles fought back and three minutes later a free kick delivered their second goal of the day but in the closing minutes of the match, Aaron Walker drove home his third and sealed an emphatic 7-2 win for Byron.

The Rams now meet Richmond Rovers in yet another Anzac Cup final at Oakes Oval on April 22. Kick off is at 5pm.

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