KOLORA Noorat was forced to scrap its way to victory in their Warrnambool and District football league semi-final clash with Timboon Demons on Sunday.
After an even first half, the Power moved clear in the third term and held strong as the Demons gained momentum late, recording a 9.13 (67) to 7.11 (53) victory.
Power coach Danny Finn said his side ground out the win and was pleased with their effort against the Demons.
“It’s a good word grind and that’s what we were after,” he said.
“Like we just wanted to scrap and sort of keep persisting and show a bit of resilience.
“Things didn’t go our way for a period in terms of they got momentum or it might be a few free kicks but we were able to keep our heads and slowly but surely we got on top.
“I don’t know if we got five or six goals in front late, and then they got a bit of momentum too and kicked a couple of late ones, so I was very pleased with the effort.”
After a close opening term, the Demons moved ahead early in the second quarter, before the Power fought back late to lead at half-time.
“I reckon it was just played between the arcs for a lot of the first half, but we really liked our last five or 10 minutes (of the second quarter),” Finn said.
“We were able to lock it in, get repeat entries and put a lot of pressure on them and the game was breaking open a little bit then I reckon.
“(Sam) Harkin up forward and (Ben) Fraser, we weren’t sort of kicking it on their heads, we were able to kick it to advantage and then into the third quarter we were able to break the game open again.
“But that was through a little bit of our backs giving us some drive and run and our mids being able to spread from our stoppages.”
The Power kicked 3.4 to 0.3 in the third quarter to push themselves 22 points ahead, but the game was still well and truly in the balance at the start of the final term.
The Demons, with the aid of the breeze, kicked the opening goal of the quarter to reduce the margin to 14 points.
But the Power was quick to respond, kicking goals through Fraser and Luke McConnell to push the lead back out to 28 points.
Timboon goaled again shortly after, before Luke Justin converted a set shot to seal the Power’s victory, before two late goals to the Demons reduced the winning margin back to 14 points.
Jason Moloney was named best on ground for Kolora Noorat, with Finn heaping praise on the role the utility played.
He said Moloney executed it to perfection, quelling the Demons’ ability to run and carry and drive out of the midfield.
“Jase probably played on a wing a lot last week and we threw him into the guts (midfield) today (Sunday),” Finn said.
“He played really well, we watched Timboon last week and they were sensational and their hit zone, they get it on the fly and they run and attack really hard and we just plonked Jase there.
“We just said you sit there and sweep off the back and ideally someone goes to you and it just gave them no room to move, even if they won the ruck.”
Luke Tebble, Justin, Patrick Moloney, Jake Richardson and Lachlan Mackay all played well, while Fraser and Justin finished with two goals apiece.
Kolora Noorat will now face Old Collegians in the preliminary final on Saturday at Reid Oval.
Finn said it was a match that could go either way with the two sides enjoying close battles this year but added his players were hungry to make amends for their qualifying final defeat.
“They’re a great footy club and they played really well yesterday (Saturday) after being six or seven goals down,” he said.
“They just don’t give up and they run hard and they threw a few things around yesterday (Saturday), so we’ll be prepared for that next week.
“They like to handball and flick it around and they run and carry really well, but the group are just rapt to get another crack at them I think.
“We’re really looking forward to it, there’s obviously a bit of a rivalry over the last few years, since I’ve been at the club especially.”