A dominant first quarter before the rain came tumbling down was enough to set South Bunbury up for a narrow win over Busselton on Saturday night.
South Bunbury were up-and-about early kicking with the breeze, racing to a two goal lead.
Tiger Jordan Corbett badly missed a set shot but Leigh Kohlmann made no mistake when awarded a free kick close to home moments later.
The game was physical and a number of a players left the ground with injuries including Tiger’s captain Matt Giacci who returned to the field later with his head taped up.
WATCH: South Bunbury coach Mark Docking’s post-game interview.
A set shot 20 metres from goal gave Kohlmann his second and a quality snap in the pocket minutes later gave him a third.
He almost had four for the term with a hurried angled snap hitting the post moments before the quarter time siren to see South Bunbury comfortably ahead 5.4.34 to 1.1.7.
Busselton coach Steve Lester was far from panicked at quarter time, confidently reminding his young side the wind would now favour them and a quick goal or two was bridge the margin.
Winning the ball out of the ruck, the Magpies quickly worked the ball down the corridor to the hands of Aidan Fraser who made no mistake in converting the major.
A second quality centre clearance had the ball heading in Fraser’s direction again when he was tackled high. Frustration boiled over for both sides with players rushing in to vent their displeasure.
Foolishly, a South Bunbury player pushed Busselton’s Ben Daniels to the deck which gave the side a 50 metre penalty, with Fraser able to kick his second goal from the top of the square.
The breeze continued to give Busselton most of the play but the dew made both the ground and the ball slippery. A number of players lost their footing and opportunities were hard to come by.
Daniels hit the post before Fraser added a third after a great mark in the forward pocket just before the main break to see Busselton trailing 5.6.36 to 5.2.32.
Hayden Krikke kicked the opening goal of the third term for South Bunbury and then the heavens opened and the rain slammed down hard.
At times it was difficult to see the far side of Hands Oval and while there was plenty of water, there were very few scoring opportunities.
For virtually the rest of the term, every player on the field was drawn inside South Bunbury’s forward 50 with kicks struggling to go the required 15 metres for a mark.
Just two behinds were added to the Tigers total to give them a 6.8.44 to 5.2.32 lead at the final change.
The rain eased in the fourth and Busselton were as keen as their rivals to lock the ball in attack with a strong breeze still blowing.
After 10 minutes of play, Daniels was able to kick a major to bring the deficit back to one goal.
A gallant Magpies side threw everything they had at South Bunbury but the Tigers defense stood tall.
With minutes to spare, the ball made its way to the northern end of the ground for the first time in the half with Kohlmann missing a shot from the pocket.
In such a low scoring game, the point was as good as a goal and when the final siren mercifully blew for both players and fans, the Tigers has won 6.9.45 to 6.2.38.
South Bunbury’s Ryan Bennell was presented with the match ball as best-on-ground during the belt-up round clash.
Next Saturday, Busselton will host Collie on Saturday night while South Bunbury will host Eaton on Sunday.