Collingullie-Glenfield Park head into next Saturday’s Riverina League grand final at Narrandera with some confidence and momentum after an impressive 10-goal win over Griffith in Sunday’s preliminary final.
For the fifth time in six years, the Demons will take their place on the biggest day of the year – and the league’s first Saturday grand final – after finishing over the top of the Swans, 17.12 (114) to 7.12 (54).
In a quick and open game at Robertson Oval, Collingullie-GP’s big-game experience came to the fore, as they made most of the running and knew how to get the game back on their terms when Griffith challenged.
“It was good. We spoke last week about bouncing back. We were disappointing in patches last week and to bounce back in the fashion we did was good,” coach Luke Gestier said.
“We just really go in now with a bit of momentum. I’m really happy with the boys. But obviously now we have a job still to do.”
It was 14 minutes before Gestier kicked the game’s first goal but Danny Frawley had another from the next clearance. Griffith then had three scoring shots, for one goal, followed by an error in their attacking 50.
Within seconds, Jimmy Kennedy was putting away a goal for Gullie. That summarised the teams’ days.
In the second quarter, Griffith closed to within a kick before Collingullie-GP kicked four unanswered, including two in three minutes to Marc Geppert.
That pushed the Demons’ lead out to five goals at half-time. It was six by the last change, and then they piled on six goals to Griffith’s two in the final quarter, to win by 60 points.
“In a lot of earlier games, we’ve put sides away in the first half,” Gestier said.
“As in, do the damage and not really go on with it. So to finish off like we did with a big last quarter was fantastic and gives us great momentum going forward.”
Six times, the Demons kicked two goals within three or four minutes, whereas the Swans couldn’t capitalise on their chances to build momentum.
Defender Jimmy Morris did an excellent job on Griffith’s Brent Arho, who was kept to just the one goal, and Tom Keogh was also very solid down back.
Midfielder Jayden Klemke played his usual superb game and finished with four goals – his best haul of the year apart from a five-goal-haul against Narrandera – and Steve Jolliffe was also impressive.
Will Haines, who limped off in the fourth quarter, looks their only potential concern.
“I haven’t really got an update,” Gestier said. “We’ll just monitor him during the week. But we’ll enjoy the week and soak the week up.”