NORTH Ballarat City is through to its first ever Ballarat Football League grand final after a systematic preliminary final dismantling of Redan on Saturday.
In a ruthless display at Eastern Oval, North saw off an initial Redan barrage before launching an unrelenting attack on the side that it lost to by 41 points just two weeks ago, winning 20.13 (133) to 9.9 (63).
Superior contested football, supreme ball movement and sheer intensity were highlights of the black and white machine that the Lions simply had no answer to.
Shaun Lyle was simply unstoppable in the forward arc with nine goals and four behinds, while fellow key forward Michael Williams also chipped in with five majors.
Coach Rob Waters said the 111-point turnaround from the qualifying final came down to one key thing – contested footy.
Two weeks ago, North players were run off their feet, dominated in the clinches by a more ferocious maroon and gold outfit.
On Saturday the tables were completely turned.
“That’s where they smashed us last time and that’s where we needed to beat them to turn it around,” Waters said.
“Last time we got poleaxed and they beat us by 41 points. We had four blokes off and two carrying injuries then.
“We think we’re a pretty good team and we proved it today and came out and won against a quality footy team.”The two first goals of the match went the way of Redan, the second of which was a contender for goal of the year by Dean Matthews after blind turning his way out of a pack and taking on about five North players to somehow find himself in space.
The maroon and gold were on top across the ground, North entering its forward 50 just three times in the first 18 minutes. But then something changed.
A Jayden Orr goal spurred North to life and from that point onwards it as all one-way traffic.
Fourteen of the next 15 goals went the way of the Northies, with Redan barely in the contest.
Everything was going the way of North Ballarat City. Big man Williams was snapping goals on the run at one end while Ryan Hobbs was impassable down back.
Josh McDermott justified his call-up to replace Tristan Cartledge in the ruck in a sensational performance, while the ground troops of Tyler and Ayden George and Jason McNamara were dominant as usual.
Redan’s Matt Caris had the chance to give his side a much-needed lift with a shot after the half-time siren, but when it landed short from 45 metres, it was difficult to see the Lions working their way back into it.
And when Williams goaled 20 seconds into the third term, any hopes of a Redan comeback faded quickly.
Lyle kicked three goals in the third term to take his tally to seven at the last break, slotting a further two in the last quarter. Redan coach Eammon Gill was left somewhat speechless after the game.
“They completely dominated us on the ball, they dismantled our backline and we had no answer,” he said. “It just proves that two weeks is a very long time in footy.
“ It just shows that if you’re not on your game, then you’re going to get blown away.”
North Ballarat City now advances through to its first BFL grand final, where it will meet Sunbury, which advanced last week.