MID GIPPSLAND FL
Mirboo North has booked another Mid Gippsland grand final showdown against Newborough after comprehensively defeating Boolarra in the preliminary final by 78 points.
Boolarra attempted to confuse Mirboo North with its team selections prior to the match by omitting players off its list who the Demons eventually played, but the ruse did not pay off.
The Tigers took the lead early but were off target with two goals from seven attempts. Boolarra struggled in front of a huge crowd and let itself down.
The Demons were always second to the ball, which provided Mirboo North with the advantage, and they struggled to contain Nash brothers Liam, Jake and Kallum.
By the first break Mirboo North led 2.5 (17) to Boolarra 1.1 (7).
The Tigers had use of the breeze, but it was not needed as they completely overran the Demons, who could not cope with the Tigers’ speed and intensity.
Prolific goal scorer Tim Traill ensured Mirboo North stayed well ahead with two goals leading into half-time.
Mirboo North led 7.9 (51) to Boolarra’s 2.2 (14), but the Demons are known for their fighting ability and were expected to come out firing in the second-half.
However, Mirboo North continued its advance towards a grand final berth with goals from Luke Palmer, Kallum Nash and Traill, which put the result beyond doubt.
Drew Gardener, Ben Ah Mat and Kris Berchtold in the Tigers’ backline placed pressure on the Demons, and by the last term the game was well and truly over.
Mirboo North swung a few changes to bring fresh players into the action to prepare for next week’s grand final clash with the Bulldogs.
Boolarra was under pressure and could not produce the form shown in the previous finals.
Captain Daniel Metcalf, Mark Buglisi and Andrew Thorpe were busy, but too few Boolarra players made an impact.
Mirboo North finished the final quarter with a more accurate 6.2 (38) to Boolarra 2.2 (14) to run out comfortable winners 18.13 (121) to 6.7 (43).
Traill scored five goals and Kallum Nash and Palmer both scored three.
For Boolarra, Chris Stasinowsky scored a brace. It was a disappointing end to what was an exciting final series for the Demons, but it should still be proud of its achievements throughout the 2014 season.
For Mirboo North it has another crack at Newborough for the fourth time this year and is hoping it can achieve back-to-back premierships.