RED Hill will take enormous momentum into its Elimination final against Hastings this weekend after belting Dromana to the tune of 86 points on Saturday.
The Hillmen have won four matches in a row by an average margin of 59 points and have regained that confidence that eluded them in the middle part of the season. The Hillmen’s last two wins against Dromana and Frankston Bombers have been by 86 and 113 points respectively.
Red Hill beat Hastings at the start of the month (three rounds ago) in a hard fought, tough contest by 27 points.
Red Hill went into the final home and away game of the season having to beat Dromana, while relying on Sorrento to beat Rye.
While Red Hill went in as favourite, it had lost to Dromana on the previous three occasions.
From the very first bounce, the Hillmen got their backyard in order and opened up a 30 point lead at the first change.
In the corresponding game earlier in the season, the Hillmen did the same and went on to kick just one more goal for the game.
Not this time. By half time, the margin had blown out to ten goals and Red Hill had placed itself in a position to jump into the top five.
Jake Mold booted five goals, Jared Eames four and teenager Danny Allsop three majors while Jake Mitchell and Daniel McNamara also dominated.
Daniel Guerts and Kieran Voelkl were the best of the Tigers.
After the match, Red Hill coach Tony Blackford was obviously very pleased to be part of another finals campaign.
“Once you’re in Toey, anything can happen,” said Blackford.
“Our game finished a lot earlier than the Sorrento v Rye game so we all got in the rooms to listen to the last ten minutes on the radio. The guys were obviously pretty excited.
“We go into next week knowing we’re playing really good footy again and we were lucky enough to beat Hastings a few weeks ago.
“Finals are a different ball game altogether though and as far as I’m concerned, it all starts again.
“We’ll prepare the best we can and no doubt give it our best shot.
“We’re the underdogs of all the teams in the finals but we don’t plan to be there just making up numbers. We’re confident we can have a real impact if we play to our potential,” said Blackford.
While Red Hill got the four points, it had to rely on Sorrento to knock over Rye.
It wasn’t until the 20-minute mark of the last quarter that Red Hill could start to celebrate.
Rye played the best football I had witnessed it play this season and took it right up to the Sharks.
On a couple of occasions throughout the match, it appeared as though Sorrento was going to break the game open, however, with their season on the line, the Demons kept fighting back.
Scores were locked together at half time and the margin was just nine points at three quarter time in favour of the home side. The final margin was three goals, 16.10 (106) to 13.10 (88).
Jon Croad was superb for the Sharks, despite not being named in their best, while Daniel Grant was also a solid four-quarter contributor.
Brady Egan is a star of the competition and he was excellent for the Demons, while Adam Kirkwood was superb in the back half, despite his opponent Myles Pitt kicking three goals.
The other big game everyone was keeping an eye on was Hastings versus Rosebud.
What a fizzer that turned out to be. Rosebud mauled the Blues from the first bounce and won by more than 100 points.
The Buds kicked 20.12 (132) while restricting the Blues to just 4.6 (30).
The Buds went into the game without Greg Bentley and Paul Kennedy and full back Chris Zurek. Chris Rogers, Jackson McRae and Brenton Payne all played in the reserves while Sean Downie was at Stingrays.
Rob Forrest was at his devastating best with five goals while Ryan Spooner booted four and Tom Baker three. Matt Baker was superb on Luke Clark.
Jake Hewitt and Shaun Foster were the best of the Blues.
Hastings now has a week to regroup before playing Red Hill in the knock-out Elimination Final.
Rosebud has been the best side all season and deserves the week off.
Crib Point was put out of its misery at 4.30pm yesterday by Somerville, losing by a whopping 106 points.
It’s a far cry from the club that was flying this time last year and was a genuine premiership threat.
This season has been a disaster for the black and white, winning just three games for the season.
Coach of the Year in 2014 Duane Annable has stepped down and the popular choice if you listen to the beating drums is that Brad Arnold will take control.
The Eagles were sensational on Saturday, despite a lacklustre opposition.
Make no mistake, Somerville is right there with Rosebud as the best teams in the competition.
Tom Shaw booted five goals, Rowan Hogenbirk was back from a quad injury with four goals and Billy Rolfe is just winding up for a big finals series – he finished with four goals.
Adrian Speedy and Justin Allsop were outstanding.
Devon Meadows finished the season on a real high, winning its final four games. It beat Tyabb on Saturday 24.17 (161) to 9.14 (68).
Dylan Hand booted seven goals and Beau Miller and Pat Harmes dominated.
Jake Anderson kicked five majors for the Yabbies and Adrian Clay in his 150th game was outstanding.
In the final game, Pearcedale finished on a high too and beat Frankston Bombers, 18.7 (115) to 12.10 (82).
In what has been a tough season for both clubs, they both finished where expected. I think both clubs misunderstood the strength of the competition and there was talk of finals from both camps.
Pearcedale must resign its coach Jamie Merchan and invest in additional talent.
If Merchan was to go, and he doesn’t want to, I think the ripple effect could be significant.
Both the Panthers and Bombers can’t keep treading the boards and expect things to improve.