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Ibises fly into finals full of confidence

Tatura has knocked over Shepparton South and will head into Regional Premier League finals full of confidence.

MATTHEW GALEA August 19, 2014 3:10am

Anthony Calandro lays a tackle on Matthew Vacaro.


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Tatura is heading into finals on a high after dispatching of minor premier Shepparton South 3-1.

Jared Cunniff scored two first-half goals to set up the win, with Oriol Fernandez capitalising on some shocking play at the back from South to seal the win.

Cunniff put the Ibises ahead when he latched on to a beautiful corner from coach Tom Black — who opposing coach Reno Lia described as the “best player going around in the league’’.

Lia’s side came back into the game through Brendan Barton’s equaliser, but parity was short-lived with Cunniff striking again after Ricky Luvara fed him beautifully.

Cunniff came off at half-time with a hamstring complaint, but the Ibises still managed a third when Mason Smith pounced on a poor back-pass, before squaring the ball to Fernandez for an easy finish.

The loss is the Southerners’ second on the trot, and while they were missing a number of first-team regulars and lost Adam Burchell in the first 15 minutes to a foot injury, Lia was disappointed with the display of some of his senior players.

‘‘A couple of players have shown me that they are not up to the standard required at this time of the year,’’ Lia said.

‘‘I’m talking about a couple of guys that have been around the squad for the past 12 months and that is unacceptable.

‘‘The shining light for me was 15-year-old Tim Lardner. I couldn’t take him out of the squad now.

‘‘Him and Damian Russo are two guys that were shining lights for us and they’re good young players who will continue to get opportunities.’’

Black said it was important to head into finals with winning form, but beating South was a nice bonus.

‘‘I suppose they’re always big games against South, but I was pleased with the way no-one dropped their heads when they equalised,’’ Black said.

‘‘It was a bit scrappy in the second half as we all took players off, but I was really happy with how we threatened from wide positions.’’

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