Ulverstone will take some spectacular form into its NWFL grand final defence next week after demolishing Latrobe by 85 points in Saturday’s preliminary final at Girdlestone Park.
In a game that shaped as a mouth-watering affair in the lead-up, it was the Robins that were the only ones left with the sweet taste of success by the final siren as they dominated every quarter to triumph 18.20 (128) to 6.7 (43).
The result now sets up another tantalising match-up with minor premiers Burnie in the decided after the Dockers prevailed by just three points in the second semi-final last week.
The Demons looked the better side in the opening stages of the game, dominating possession and attacking the ball with ferocity to establish a nine-point break thanks to goals from Josh Holland and Brayden Butler.
But just as Troy Davies’ side appeared to be in for a good day at the office, Ulverstone suddenly clicked into gear and turned the pressure back onto its opposition with some great chasing and tackling which resulted in three goals to Claye Sculthorpe and a nine-point lead at quarter-time.
With the breeze at their backs in the second quarter, the Robins took a huge step towards victory with another four goals while keeping an error-riddled Latrobe to just one point as the margin was extended to 39 points.
Veteran Ulverstone utility Darren Banham showed why he is still one of the most dangerous players in the league during the third quarter, moving forward to kick all four of his team’s goals to help take the lead out to 49 points.
While many expected the final term to go through the motions with the result all but sealed, Jamie Hayward’s side showed no let-up as they booted another six goals to well and truly break the Demons’ spirit and give Dockers coach Brent Plant something to think about during the week.
Banham finished with five goals for the day to lead all goalkickers, with Sculthorpe adding four goals.
Defenders Tim Mee, Klay Griffiths and Jacob Wiggers were outstanding for the Robins all day, while Liam Davies showed why he is one of the favourites for Sunday’s Darrel Baldock Medal count with another impressive game through the midfield.
Better players for Latrobe were much harder to find, with Braden van Buuren and Kurt Hanson the pick of them.
Next Saturday’s grand final day will see a total of five clubs in action, with Latrobe making it through to play Devonport in the under 18 decider thanks to a 10.6 (66) to 6.8 (48) win over minor premiers Ulverstone.
The Demons will also back up in the reserves grand final after they pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Penguin 13.6 (84 to 8.11 (59) and set up a showdown with Wynyard.