BUNGAREE marched towards a preliminary final berth with a convincing 43-point win over Daylesford in yesterday’s heated semi-final.
After a blistering opening quarter where neither side gave the other an inch, it soon became clear that whichever team could crack the game open would be in a prime position to emerge victorious.
In the end, it was the Demons.
Whereas Daylesford failed to make the most of the wind early in the game, Bungaree was able to put speed on the contest and manifest crucial opportunities when it had the advantage in the second term.
With their confidence rising, it wasn’t long before the Demons took control of the game and played it virtually on their own terms, including a brilliant seven-goal final quarter.
Coach Greg Middleton said his team was able to maintain its intensity and eventually break the game open.
“It was a hot footy early,” he said.
“We probably got our match-ups better after quarter time, and opened the game up a little bit with certain players. I think probably the difference was that we maintained our tempo.
“We just stuck to our task and in the end it was a really good win.”
Bungaree will now face Hepburn in what promises to be thrilling preliminary final next weekend.
Middleton said the contest would be another challenge for his side.
“We know what we’re up against – you know, a side that’s been there before and has the experience and class,” he said.
“In the end, it’s going to come down to us having 22 contributors. Hopefully we can shut down a few of their main players and get the result.”
After an up-and-down year, Daylesford’s incredible run of six-straight grand final appearances was put to an end.
It was also playing coach Andrew Button’s final game for the club.
The 41-year-old said his side allowed Bungaree to gain the ascendency early on, and never got it back.
“We had a fair bit of the play but just couldn’t put the pressure on,” he said.
“They (the Demons) had the wind in the second quarter and were able to run away with it a bit. In the end, they were too good for us.”
However, Button said he was confident that the club would return bigger and better next season.
“You can’t take success for granted, and it really is a joy to go all the way. Not making it will hopefully give them a big boost in trying to get back there next year.”
Trent Nesbitt, Michael Cummings and Scott Winduss all performed admirably for the Bulldogs.