FOR the second time in four seasons Mitiamo has fought its way through from the elimination final to play off for the Loddon Valley league premiership.
The Superoos won their third knockout match in a row on Saturday, dominating the final term of the preliminary final against Maiden Gully YCW to win 16.20 (116) to 12.8 (80) at Marong.
Just like in 2015, the Superoos’ run to the grand final started from the elimination final and they will now meet Newbridge for the flag next Saturday.
They have become the first team since the introduction of the Loddon Valley top five in 2001 to reach the grand final having ended the home and away season fifth.
When they also made the grand final from the elimination final in 2015 the Superoos had finished fourth.
“It’s exciting for the club to get through to a grand final. The boys have been playing some good footy and we’ve now got to make sure we prepare right and give ourselves the best chance to have a crack at it,” Mitiamo coach Andy Grant said.
The Superoos trailed by five points at three quarter-time, but soared into the grand final off the back of a 7.8 to 1.3 final term.
“Maiden Gully moved the ball well and beat us on the inside through the midfield, which is normally our strength,” Grant said.
“But in the last quarter we won a lot more of the contested ball and that was the difference.
“I thought James Rozynski was brilliant in the last quarter and Jackson Falls was really good in the middle through the last 20 minutes of the game.”
For the second time this finals series Mitiamo key forward Ryan Wellington bagged seven goals as his mid-season signing paid another dividend.
Best-on-ground Rozynski and Luke Scott added two goals each for the Superoos, who get another crack at winning their first premiership since 2009, which was coached by Grant’s father, Bill, and won at Bridgewater where next Saturday’s grand final will be played.
Newbridge and Mitiamo last met in a grand final 40 years ago when the Maroons, coached by the late Linton Gleeson, won by 21 points to capture the 1978 flag.
Saturday’s defeat ended a season of massive improvement for the Eagles, who before this year hadn’t made a finals series since 2011.
But for the meantime the fact the Eagles squandered two opportunities to make a grand final, having also lost the second semi-final to Newbridge, will hurt.
“The game was there to be won at three quarter-time, but unfortunately, they were just too good,” said first-year Maiden Gully YCW coach Wayne Mitrovic, who improved the Eagles by 10 wins on last year.
The best player for Maiden Gully YCW was Bailey Graham, whose intercept marking was a feature, while down the other end Cohen Kekich kicked six of the Eagles’ 12 goals.
Earlier in the day Pyramid Hill won both the reserves and under-18 matches to advance to grand finals.
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