A MORE desperate Nirranda dealt Kolora Noorat’s Warrnambool and District football league grand final hopes a blow last Saturday.
The Blues became the first club to move on to the decider, recording a come from behind 8.10 (58) to 6.9 (45) victory at Merrivale Recreation Reserve.
It was a disappointing finish for the Power, which made all the early running and led at every change.
But they could not protect a 14 point three quarter time lead, as they were stunned by a four goals to none final term by the Blues.
Coach Ben Walsh conceded Nirranda “were too good” for his players in the game’s big moments, particularly late in the contest.
But he said the beauty of finishing on top of the ladder meant his side would enjoy a second chance.
“We were probably a little bit off and they probably made the most of their opportunities and that proved the difference in the end,” he said.
“We spoke after the game that when the game was on the line and in the second half when the game became a grind, that they were more desperate than us.
“That was probably the most disappointing part for us but at the same time we’re excited for another crack this weekend.”
The loss has forced the Power into this weekend’s preliminary final at Reid Oval, where it will be looking to secure its berth against Old Collegians.
The Warriors are entering the contest on the back of two strong wins, having dismantled Panmure in the elimination final before holding off a fast-finishing Merrivale in the first semi-final last weekend.
Walsh said he had been impressed by the Warriors’ recent form and said they would present a strong test for his side.
“They’ve been really good the last couple of weeks I’ve watched them,” he said.
“They’ve moved the ball really well and have been running on top of the ground so they’ll be a huge challenge for us.
“We should have pretty close to a full list to choose from and getting back to the Reid Oval, we can’t wait for Saturday to roll around.”
Walsh dismissed the notion of Kolora Noorat holding a mental edge over the Warriors given they had defeated them twice in the home and away season.
Instead he said the match would be determined by whoever controls the contested ball, despite both sides boasting strong running games.
“I’ve said all year our outside game is a by-product of what we do on the inside and it’s definitely an area we need to be better in so we’ll continue to focus on that,” Walsh said.
“While the big open spaces will suit us, winning the inside stuff will be the priority.”
Meanwhile, the Power’s three other football sides endured mixed results in their semi-final clashes over the weekend.
The reserves’ season came to an end following a 7.4 (46) to 5.9 (39) loss to Merrivale, while the under 18s will have a second chance at earning a grand final berth after losing to South Rovers 11.5 (71) to 1.4 (10).
The news was better for the under 15s, who moved straight through to the decider following a narrow 4.5 (29) to 3.4 (22) win over South Rovers.
Kolora Noorat also had two netball teams in action during the second weekend of Warrnambool and District league finals.
The Power’s 15 and under side will utilise its double chance after going down to Russells Creek by one goal last Saturday.
Trailing by seven at half-time, Kolora Noorat launched a mighty second half comeback but ultimately fell just short.
Jess Beasley, Eliza Fleming and Isabelle Kenna were named in the best, as Lily Baker (16 goals) did the majority of the scoring.
The 25-24 result saw the minor premiers advance directly to the premiership decider, whilst Kolora Noorat will front up against Dennington at Reid Oval this Saturday in a rematch of the recent qualifying final.
Meanwhile, the season came to an end for the club’s 13 and under netball side, beaten 33-21 by Old Collegians at Allansford Recreation Reserve last Sunday.
After a slow start the Power fought back to win the second term before the Warriors pulled clear in the second half.
Alice Kain, Ruby Kenna and Rose Beasley were named as Kolora Noorat’s best, while Mila Croft (13 goals) led the way in scoring.