Darley had already been stunned by North Ballarat City in the Ballarat Football League this season, so it was determined to make sure it didn’t happen a second time in the sides’ elimination final on Saturday.
The Devils dominated, never giving City a chance to get into the game.
The Devils won every quarter in the
15.15 (105)-7.5 (47) win and are now one win away from a grand final appearance.
Their coach, Heath Scotland, said they knew a good start was crucial.
“It was a nice, even performance and everyone played their role or won their position,” he said.
“The start was important and we wanted to capitalise on the slight breeze we had in the first quarter.
“We then had to restrict them in the second quarter, which we did.”
The Devils led by 48 points at half-time and looked certain winners. But they weren’t taking any chances, with City having nothing to
lose – for much of the season, City didn’t look like it would even make finals.
A seven-to-six goal second half ensured the Devils got the win.
Scotland said it was one of the most even performances his side had produced this season.
“We knew North Ballarat would throw everything at us,” he said.
“They have nothing to lose and we had to make sure we stuck to our structures. The backline held up strongly, the midfield was good and the forwards put it on the scoreboard. It was a really even contribution.”
Dane Grenfell was the best forward on the ground, kicking four goals. Luke Delahey kicked three goals and was named best-on-ground.
Scotland said it was pleasing to come out of the match with no injuries.
He said the side was starting to get the right team balance after plenty of changes due to injuries mid-year.
Shane Page and Abraham Cameron are both chances to return for the side’s semi-final against Bacchus Marsh.
The game will be held at Darley Park, instead of Ballarat where most games are held in the second week of finals.
A big crowd is expected to watch the two local rivals.
Scotland said that who the Devils were playing was of little concern.
“They’re no different to any other team,” he said. “We’ve put ourselves in the position to play off a for a grand final.
“We cannot get ahead of ourselves. They beat us quite convincingly the last time we played them.
“[But] If we play the footy we played yesterday, we are a good chance.”
Meanwhile, the Devils’ reserves will play Melton South in an elimination semi-final, after losing to East Point 12.12 (84)-7.8 (50).