Demons hunt down Cougars

Yarram has sent Churchill tumbling out of the North Gippsland Football Netball League premiership race, with a 48-point win in yesterday’s first semi-final at Glengarry.

The Demons’ run and carry from defence, hardness at the contest and at times precise delivery inside 50 paved the way for the 19.16 (130) to 10.22 (82) victory.

It was the first time Yarram had defeated Churchill since joining the league in 2013 and the Demons savoured the occasion.

“(Churchill) were saying it out there and they knew it… but now we’ve never lost to them in a final as well so that’s a beautiful thing,” Demons coach Chris Pettitt said.

“They were letting us know ‘here they go they will stop again’ but that’s why we keep attacking and playing the way we want to play.

“We used to get in front and defend but you can’t win footy games defending so it was good to see us keep attacking and pile a score on.”

Pettitt was forced into three changes to the side that beat Woodside, with Justin Staley, Dylan Rash and Ryan Underwood sidelined with injury and replaced by Michael Pettitt, Jari McDonald and Michael Lush.

McDonald and Lush booted two goals each and were among six multiple goal-kickers, led by Corbin Sutherland with three.

On the other hand, Churchill welcomed back league medallist Travis Brighton, Dean Degroot, Rob Wilkie and Jayden Hawkins in place of Sam Mazou, Daniel Dunne, Kurt Holt and Brad Brereton.

Churchill made a bright start but Yarram grew into the game and controlled much of the first half by asserting scoreboard pressure at nearly every opportunity, leading by 20 points at the main break.

The Cougars made their move midway through the second term and immediately after half-time, but failed to convert their chances into goals and allowed Yarram to regain its stranglehold on the game.

On-baller Griffin Underwood was outstanding once again, Chris Coulthard was excellent in defence and Chris Pettitt gave a good account of himself in the ruck.

Sutherland, David Clavarino and Tyler Chisholm were other good contributors, but Pettitt was pleased with the evenness of the performance.

“We’re sticking to our guns and the way we want to play,” he said.

“We’re not going out in the first quarter saying we’re going to play a certain way and in the last quarter changing it up again.

“We go in with a plan and we always stick to it, but it doesn’t work unless 22 blokes buy into it.”

Churchill coach Allan Chandler said being eliminated from finals in straight sets was a disappointing way to end a promising season.

“We cost ourselves in the first half, we had the majority of play and didn’t capitalise on the scoreboard,” Chandler said.

“We tried to flip the board around and do a few different things but they probably beat us with the spread and their use of the ball and they took their chances.”

Yarram now meets Sale City in the preliminary final at Rosedale on Saturday.