Collingullie-Glenfield Park is one win away from another grand final after outlasting Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong in an epic qualifying final on Saturday.
A Blake Harper goal deep inside the final quarter handed the Demons back the lead and they hung on for a brave five-point win, 10.6 (66) to 8.13 (61) at Robertson Oval.
In a game that had it all, GGGM teenager Matt Hamblin nailed a set shot from the boundary line to put the Lions up by one point at the 21 minute mark of the final term.
The Lions were then forced to rush a behind to level the scores, before Harper marked on the lead and kicked truly to put Collingullie-GP six points up at the 24 minute mark.
GGGM went forward again and Hamblin narrowly missed a quick shot on goal. The siren sounded shortly after with the ball inside the Lions’ attacking 50.
It was a big effort from the Demons, who lost two-time Jim Quinn Medal winner Jayden Klemke and key defender Joe Byrnes to hamstring injuries in the first half.
GGGM, despite missing a lot of opportunities, led by a goal at half-time before the Demons turned the game on it’s head.
Collingullie-GP kicked three goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to open up a 13-point lead and went into three-quarter-time 14 points up.
The Lions came hard and looked like they might have had it for a moment, but the Demons held their nerve to claim a brilliant finals win.
Sidelined Collingullie-GP coach Luke Gestier had nothing but praise for his team.
“We were up against it and it was just good character and that’s what this club is built on the back of,” Gestier said.
“Whether it’s a final or just a round match, this club has got some bloody good character and it showed in that last five or 10 minutes.
“Footy’s a strange thing and some may say we didn’t deserve it but at the end of the day we got the win and we move on to have a good crack at Griffith now.”
Gestier said the early prognosis did not look good for Klemke or Byrnes, who were having their first game back from hamstring injuries.
Marc Geppert, who kicked three goals, was instrumental in the win for the Demons. He moved to centre-half-forward in the second half and had a hand in the first three goals of the third quarter.
Jimmy Kennedy, Matt Klemke and Nick Perryman got on top in the middle, while Dusty Rogers moved onto Riley Corbett and kept him to two goals.
Josh Bubnich was brilliant for the Lions, closely followed by Jacob Olsson and Jesse Lander.