REIGNING premier Wedderburn’s impressive late-season form in the North Central Football League continued on Saturday.
The Redbacks kept their hopes of a third-straight premiership alive with a 36-point win over Wycheproof-Narraport in the first semi-final, 15.19 (109) to 11.7 (73), at Charlton.
Wedderburn fought back from a 26-point deficit during the second quarter, kicking 12 of the last 16 goals of the match.
The Redbacks were made to pay for their inaccuracy early when they trailed the Demons 7.2 to 2.6 10 minutes into the second quarter.
“We just couldn’t kick straight early, which was very frustrating,” Wedderburn coach Daniel Gash said.
“We doubled their inside 50 count in the first and second quarter and beat them around the stoppages, but we’d kick a point and they’d then go down the other end and kick a goal.
“We were playing good footy, but couldn’t kick a goal.”
After their inaccurate start, the Redbacks were finally able to assert their dominance on the scoreboard from time-on of the second term to three quarter-time when they kicked seven unanswered goals.
From their 26-point second-term deficit, the Redbacks later led by 22 points at three-quarter time.
The Demons kicked the first two goals of the final term to close within 11 points, but the Redbacks answered the challenge, booting the last four goals of the game.
Wedderburn full-forward Sam Barnes kicked the last three goals of the match to finish the game with eight.
But Barnes could have had a massive bag after also kicking eight behinds.
Barnes – who has 67 goals for the season – was among the Redbacks’ best players.
Wedderburn’s best was centre half-forward Brady Herdman, who kicked three goals, but was also dominant with his contested marking.
Rohan McHugh, who started on Corey Jones before being moved to defence, Cameron Perry, Adam Postle and Hayden Polglase were other good contributors for the Redbacks, who had Riley McIvor knocked out early.
The win was Wedderburn’s seventh in a row.
“We were full strength today and it’s great the boys are really starting to click,” Gash said.
Saturday was the second year in a row the Demons have bowed out at the first hurdle in the first semi-final.
Their better players included Matt Dillon, Jones (three goals), coach James Coatsworth (five goals) and Joshua White.
The finals continue next Saturday in the second semi-final when top two sides Charlton and St Arnaud meet at Wedderburn.
The winner gets a week off before the grand final, while the loser will play Wedderburn in the preliminary final in a fortnight.