Tullamarine has put in one of its most even performances of the season to win through to the Essendon District Football League division 1 grand final.
Coming off their worst performance of the season in the opening week of finals, the Demons were keen to bounce back against Craigieburn in Sunday’s preliminary final.
In a battle of of which team could deal with the high-pressure game the longest, the Demons emerged with a 13.15 (93)-10.11 (71).
Demons coach David Connell was thrilled with how his side responded after a poor semi-final against Airport West.
“We’ve very pleased that the boys were able to regroup and play some good football,” he said. “They showed a bit of resilience. The boys were able to stick to the task at hand for four quarters.”
Connell said it was a tough match all day.
“It was who could play harder for longer,” he said.
“Ten to 11 minute of the last quarter we broke them and were able to run over the top of them. Credit to them – they fought hard.”
Connell said the decision to rest so many players in the final round of the season had benefited the Demons and helped their ability to run out the game.
Jack Kennedy and Brad Allen kicked three goals each for the Demons.
Connell said Russell Laurie did a great job on Dean Limbach, while the midfield was fantastic.
He said Adam Scott, Anthony Prestia, Dean Bartrop and Caleb Harward all had good games.
Connell said they came away from the game with a clean bill of health, leaving them with just a few selection table decisions.
Shannon Dowsett will face the tribunal following in incident in the third quarter that left Ben Gibson concussed.
The game was stopped for 25 minutes while an ambulance arrived to take Gisbon to hospital.
Ryan Pretty and Joel Flanigan both missed the game due to injury, while former Carlton player Anthony Franchina was dropped for Sunday’s game.
Connell said the grand final berth was a testament to the club’s resilience.
“We’ve had players retire and players leave and there had been talk about lack of depth and juniors,” he said.
“We’ve made it through to grand finals in 2014, 2016 and 2018. It shows the resilience of the group and goes to show the culture of the club.
“The club is in a better spot than it was 18 months ago.”
Connell said he expected the grand final against Airport West to be a lot closer than the semi-final they lost to the same side by 56 points.
“We’ve put that behind us and we don’t want to replicate it,” he said. “The win on Sunday gives us confidence and we’re looking forward to it.”
The grand final will be played on Saturday at Windy Hill.
Greenvale’s season is over in premier division.
The Jets proved no match from Strathmore in their knock out semi final.
Strathmore led by 48 points at half time and extended the margin to 67 points at the last break.
The Jets won the last quarter, but it was too little, too late with Strathmore winning 13.12 (90)-7.8 (50).
Fabian Deluca was named the Jets best.