Power goes down in finals thriller

Kolora Noorat’s Stephen O’Connor battles for possession during last Saturday’s qualifying final loss to Old Collegians.

KOLORA Noorat will be looking to bounce back quickly from its Warrnambool and District league qualifying final loss when it fronts up in the first semi-final this Sunday.

Coach Danny Finn said the Power had mostly themselves to blame for the loss and said the third quarter was the turning point in the clash.

“It was definitely very disappointing,” he said

“We controlled most of the game but we let ourselves down in the third quarter.

“I think to their credit they stepped up their intensity and pressure around the footy and we just thought it would happen.”

With a strong breeze favouring one end along with constant rain turning the contest into an old fashioned metreage game, Kolora Noorat and Old Collegians played out one of the modern day classics.

The Power took the lead early, kicking six goals with the aid of the wind in the first quarter, and remained ahead at half-time after the Warriors could only manage three goals in the second term.

But it was after the main break where the game started to get interesting, as the Warriors found a way to score two goals into the breeze, with Kolora Noorat only adding one.

Finn said his side conceded the two goals in the third quarter through undisciplined acts and while disappointed, he was pleased how his players responded in the final term against the breeze.

The Power held a 15 point lead at three quarter time but the Warriors made a charge in the last quarter and brought scores level with a behind just before the final siren.

“The last quarter was amazing,” Finn said.

“We defended our backsides off and repelled most of their attacks.”

With two five minute periods of extra time required, the Warriors continued to kick with the wind

Finn, who has never been involved in a match like that, said it was strange that Old Collegians continued to kick the same way.

They made the most of the opportunity and kicked two goals in quick succession to put themselves ahead.

“You’d think they’d swap ends,” Finn said.

“But they went bang and kicked a goal at the first stoppage and got another though a lucky snap (through congestion).”

The Power had the final five minutes with the breeze to secure victory, and when Sam Harkin slotted a goal to bring the margin to within six points, Kolora Noorat could sense victory.

They repeatedly “bombarded the goals” to no avail, missing multiple opportunities as the Warriors held on to narrowly prevail 8.16 (64) to 8.13 (61).

Finn said Joey Conheady, Lachlan Mackay, Jason Moloney, Patrick Moloney and Luke McConnell were his side’s better players on Saturday.

“Joey Conheady was outstanding in the midfield, he was very clean and tough at the contest,” he said.

“Lachie Mackay dominated in the ruck and was fantastic for us.

“Jason Moloney through the midfield and Patty Moloney down back were also good and Luke McConnell was good as well.”

This weekend, the Power face Timboon Demons in a do-or-die semi-final, with the two clubs last meeting in round 13, a contest the Demons won.

The Demons are coming off a stunning 102 point victory over South Rovers in the elimination final, a performance Finn witnessed firsthand.

While the victory made a lot of people take notice, Finn said he has always rated the Demons as a top four side and will be respectful of them when they line up on Sunday.

While he thinks the Power can find ways to exploit them across the ground, Finn conceded the Demons would probably be the favoured team following the pair’s last encounter.

“Timboon definitely beat us pretty easy down on their home deck, so they’ll probably go in as favourites,” he said.

“We went and watched them on Sunday and they were impressive.

“The perception of them being a wet weather bash and crash team is wrong.”

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