Karratha Kats have finished the North Pilbara Football League regular season in second spot after defeating South Hedland Swans by 25 points in the final round on Saturday night.
Despite some inaccuracy in front of goal, Kats’ speed and slick ball use got them an early lead that proved a valuable buffer against a late comeback from a fighting Swans at Millars Well Oval, taking them to a 13.15 (93) to 10.8 (68) win.
Kats outran and outplayed the Swans throughout the first hal.
The efficient home side wasted no time bringing the ball forward to score 5.3 in the first quarter, compared to Swans’ solo behind, and kicked another 3.6 in the second which the Swans could only answer with two goals.
But Hedland’s players came into the second half with renewed drive and a more offensive approach that led to them outscoring the Kats in both remaining quarters.
The Swans gained momentum as they kicked 3.5 in the third term and another 5.2 in the last and briefly looked like they had a real chance of catching up when the margin narrowed to several goals in the dying minutes — but that bid was cut short by the siren.
Kats league coach John Wellington said his players had put in a solid game to reinforce their place in the top two at the end of the season.
“I think our first 50 minutes of footy was really good,” he said.
“The boys did put the cue in the rack after that and slowed down a bit — they just knew the score and where they were at on the ladder — but we still got the four points and that’s all that matters.”
The result also means the Swans have finished the season in fifth place on the league ladder and will miss out on finals.
In the reserves competition a dominant 88-point victory over the Swans consolidated the Kats’ place atop the ladder as they ended the regular season as minor premiers.
The Swans finished in fourth position.
After an even first term the Kats kicked 7.4 in the second stanza as the Swans scored two goals and struggled to keep pace, taking the home side to a 35-point lead at half-time. The third quarter was closer, with Karratha scoring a more subdued 1.5 to Swans’ 2.1 for the term.
But the final quarter proved to be the decider, as Kats scored 9.2 to run away with the game while the Swans only managed a point.
The final score was 19.13 (127) to 6.3 (39) to Kats.
Kirk Harris kicked 10 goals for his side, supported by Brayden Lee, Elliot Lawrie, Tim Ledger and Johnathon Purdue who booted two each.
Both Kats teams will face the Wickham Wolves in semifinals on Saturday night.