Ballarat Football League reigning premier Bacchus Marsh has set up a grand final clash with arch-rival Darley at Mars Stadium next Saturday
The Cobras progressed into a second consecutive grand final with a commanding 36-point win over a shattered Lake Wendouree in Saturday’s preliminary final at the Eastern Oval.
Final scores: Bacchus Marsh 14.15 (99) d Lake Wendouree 9.9 (63)
Bacchus Marsh bounced from a 98-point drubbing at the hands of Darley and rarely looked threatened after setting up a 27-point lead with five-goal first quarter.
Lakers did close within 14 points early in the second term and then trimmed a half-time deficit of 37 points with the opening two goals of the third stanza, but the physically stronger Bacchus Marsh always had the answers.
Cobras assistant coach Scott Sherlock made a stunning return after more than a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The onballer the most influential player early as Bacchus Marsh imposed itself on Lakers.
Sherlock was carefully managed, with a high interchange rotation and then put on ice for the last 15 minutes of the match.
Declan Phyland, Ryley Stuhldreier and Jethro Calma-Holt were lively in attack to more than cover for the suspended Jarrah Maksymow with a combined contribution of eight goals.
In contrast, Lakers struggled to keep possession with far too many unforced turnovers and little potency in attack, where leading goalkicker Lucas Anderson struggled to get his hands on the football until the last term when the game was lost.
Young ruckman Arthur Armstrong was a bright light for Lakers, with an honest effort against the Cobras’ twin towers of Daniel Burton and Dean Heta.
Ben Hayes battled hard in defence, but for the fourth time this season Lakers were overwhelmed by Bacchus Marsh.
Cobras’ coach Travis Hodgson said the win was by no means redemption for the previous week’s loss.
He said all the performance had done was give Bacchus Marsh another grand final appearance and an opportunity for back-to-back premierships.
Lakers coach Tim Malone was at a loss as to what had gone wrong.
“They’ve have the wood on us. I just don’t know why.”
Malone said he thought he had the list to go all the way this season.
The Cobras’ only injury concern is Rhys McNay, who was tested for concussion.
Lakers lost defender Scott Carey with a right ankle injury the first quarter and finished the day with Nathan Pring off with a strained hamstring.
GOALS – Bacchus Marsh: D. Phyland 3, R. Stuhldreier 3, J. Calma-Holt 2, D. Burton 2, B. Griffiths, D. Bishop, D. Heta, S. Sherlock. Lake Wendouree: L. Anderson 3, A. Armstrong 2, T. Nijam, N. Pring, J. Hooper, N. Peters
BEST – – Bacchus Marsh: S. Sherlock, M. Denham, L. Phyland, D. Bishop, D. Phyland, R. Stuhldreier. Lake Wendouree: A. Armstrong, B. Hayes, L. Bucknall, B. Taylor, J. O'Connell, T. Malone