Darley is through to its second Ballarat Football League grand final in three years, with an emphatic preliminary final win over arch rival Bacchus Marsh.
A match locals were looking forward to at Darley Park in front of a big crowd turned out to be a fizzer.
The Devils dominated for the opening bounce and if not for poor kicking at goal, the game could have been all but over at quarter-time. It was all done at half-time, with the Devils leading by 43 points.
In the second half, the Devils romped home, kicking the last eight goals of the game to win 18.18 (126)-3.10 (26).
Devils’ coach Heath Scotland said his team took it up another level on Saturday.
“Everything went to plan and the players executed it perfectly,” he said.
“The result, more so than the margin, was the important thing. We were happy with how we played.
“We played the way we wanted to play. We didn’t play well last time we played Bacchus Marsh, I think a few guys wanted to make a statement.”
Scotland said they were happy with how they started the game, but were wary about how last year’s premiers would respond.
However, he was thrilled his side kept the foot to the pedal and didn’t let the Cobras get into the game
“When we’re in the right mindset we are a really good defensive side,” he said.
“We were hungry yesterday. We were realistic though that Bacchus Marsh is a good side and they had a bad day.”
Leigh Spiteri kicked four goals for the Devils, as half the side got on the scoreboard.
Zak Butters, who returned from playing with the Western Jets, was named the Devils best. Dan Roy and skipper Shane Page, who were both late inclusions, having recovered from injuries, were also among the best.
Bacchus Marsh coach Travis Hodgson said Scotland was clearly the best player on the ground, despite not being named in the best.
Scotland said besides the natural sore bodies from playing football, they had again come away without any injuries.
The Devils will have some selection dilemmas come grand final day with Chris Graham, Dane Grenfell and Tom Evans all late withdrawals from Saturday’s match.
All three are expected to be in the mix for the final game of the year.
The Devils now have the week off and await the winner of the preliminary final between Bacchus Marsh and Lake Wendouree.
Scotland said the weekend off would give players a chance to freshen up.