BUNINYONG 14.11 (95) defeated WAUBRA 11.12 (78)
IT REQUIRED a performance befitting a grand final and Buninyong delivered.
The Bombers booked their place in a second-straight Central Highlands Football League decider with a 17-point win over Waubra in Saturday’s first preliminary final at Dunnstown.
In a clash that had long shaped as a potential grand final meeting, with the teams occupying the top two spots on the ladder at season’s end, Buninyong came hardest and never relented for the entire four quarters.
The Bombers led from go to whoa, with their opening term domination setting the tone for what was to come.
Buninyong held a 17-point advantage at the first change and it would be one that the Roos could never fully peg back.
Try as hard as Waubra did, it butchered the ball time and time again going forward and could not get within two kicks after half time.
There were brief periods of blue and white dominance, but every time the Roos pressed, the Bombers had the answers.
Sam Turner was one of the main men behind the victory, with the onballer booting four goals in a brilliant display around the ground, while ruckman Anthony Ebery was dominant and skipper Adam Scott efficient as ever down back. Up forward, Glen Phelps chimed in with three goals at important times, while assistant coach Jarrod Morgan (two goals) showed he is getting back to full fitness from a serious knee injury.
For Waubra, forward Tim Boyle was dangerous in the air and at ground level, finishing with four goals, while Paul Dodds was creative, but didn’t have one of his best days by foot. Newly-crowned Geoff Taylor Medallist Nick Sullivan was good at times and finished with two goals, while Josh Discher gained praise for his effort in the ruck.
Buninyong coach Joe Gilbert, who was involved in a couple of scuffles during the afternoon, said his side had worked hard to improve in areas it lacked during the qualifying final loss to Hepburn a couple of weeks ago.
“In the Hepburn game we didn’t play well enough, but we identified what we had to work on. We improved a bit last week (against Springbank) and (Saturday) was more of a consistent effort across the board,” Gilbert said.
His counterpart Jason Allen said the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow given he felt the team was good enough to win the premiership in 2013. Allen said the Roos didn’t play their best footy on the day.
“The message is to all stay together and regroup for next year,” Allen said.
The loss was made worse by injuries to defender Jimmy Rushton – solid down back before hurting his ankle in the third term – and onballer Dean Kelly, who yesterday had surgery to repair a compound fracture to his little finger, sustained in the final quarter.
The Bombers, meanwhile, appeared to get through unscathed ahead of next weekend’s decider.