by Dale Shannon
Coming from fourth position on the ladder, the Ouyen United Demons have booked themselves a spot in the very last Mallee Football League Grand Final.
An inspired Demons outfit kicked away from Woomelang Lascelles in the last quarter to record a 45-point win on a typical warm Mallee finals’ day.
It was a battle of attrition as temperatures reached the high 20’s at the Underbool Recreation Reserve. The Demons kicked with the aid of a light breeze in the first quarter, but it was the Cats who had a majority of the play early on. However there have been many games this year where sides have kicked themselves out of the game, and the Cats were in danger of doing just that. Easy opportunities went begging as the Cats went into quarter time with 2 goals 5 behinds to the Demons’ 4 goals 1.
As predicted Jason McGlynn took on the job of shutting down the Cats’ barometer Trent Donnan, but Donnan’s strength and running ability seemed too strong in the first half. The Cats’ onballers were getting first use from Arnold Kirby and Joshua Ratcliffe, who were also doing some damage around the ground. The loss of Ben Mole from last week resulted in a call up for Simon Jardine to share ruck duties with Todd Barker for the Demons. Both players had their work cut-out against bigger bodied opponents.
The Cats clean skills got them back in the game and Devin McFarlane was proving to be a dangerous foil in his team’s forward line. However, dominating clearances and clean ball movement again was not resulting in scoreboard pressure with another 5 behinds for the quarter.
For the Demons Aaron Morrish was winning his position and Brad Vallance was also looming as a danger up forward. The Cats were rolling their players through the various defensive roles and using their bench wisely. It seemed that these constant rotations would hold them in good stead for a second half assault.
When Joel Donnan and McFarlane goaled at the beginning of the third quarter, it looked as though the Cats were about to make their run, but the Demons weren’t done with yet. They began to put the Cats under enormous pressure, sticking some crunching tackles and forcing turnovers across the ground. Dylan Fishwick was getting the better of Trent Donnan in a tight tag, and Kyle Monaghan was also making life difficult for Jack Shannahan. A change of tactic at ruck contests had the Demons reading the ball from opposition taps and all of a sudden they were taking a 12-point advantage into the final term.
The Cats were back within a goal three minutes into the last quarter when McFarlane bagged his fourth from a down-field free kick. This was their last opportunity to make a run, but when an undisciplined act resulted in a 50m penalty and McFarlane being yellow carded, the momentum quickly swayed back in favour of the Demons. Discipline has been the Cats’ achilles heel for much of the season and it came back to haunt them once again.
Ouyen United continued with their high-pressure football and soon had the game completely on their terms. Dean Jardine and Alex Morrish lead a staunch defence to regularly clear the ball and drive their team forward. Bradley Vallance and Aaron Morrish continued their strong marking to finish of these attacking plays and combined for a 10 goal haul.
We all now anything can happen in finals and it’s amazing what a bit of confidence and trust throughout a group can help them achieve.
Last Modified on 12/09/2015 23:07