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Nirranda hold off stubborn Demons to set up semi-final clash with Dennington

IN CONTROL: Nirranda goal defence Katie Ryan was one of the Blues' best players in Saturday's qualifying final against Timboon Demons. Pictures: Christine Ansorge

IN CONTROL: Nirranda goal defence Katie Ryan was one of the Blues’ best players in Saturday’s qualifying final against Timboon Demons. Pictures: Christine Ansorge

Nirranda A grade coach Steph Townsend believes her side’s ‘sloppy’ 11-goal qualifying final victory over Timboon Demons on Saturday will boost their next charge.

The Blues set up a date with three-time reigning premiers Dennington after a 45-34 victory over the Demons..

The playing mentor said she was proud her side could prevail in a wet and windy encounter at Merrivale.

“I defiantly don’t think it was our best win,” she said. 

“I thought we were pretty sloppy in patches that I would have liked us to be.

“But I’m really happy with how we fought it out and credit to Timboon they played really hard and I thought they were really well put together today and they definitely made us fight for the win.

“I was happy with our never say die attitude every quarter. Even when we did make mistakes were able to bounce back from it.”

Townsend said the win would do wonders for her side coming into next weekend’s second semi final against the Dogs.

“To put together a win in not our strongest game will give us a lot of confidence,” she said. “Going forward, especially against a side such as Dennington, we can’t afford to have bits and pieces not put together.

“I think we will hit the ground running and train hard over this next week and try to put together four 15-minute quarters.”

Nirranda jumped away in the second quarter to lead by nine at the main break before the Demons stormed back in the third. 

In the end the wind and Blues’ defence proved too strong for the Demons as Nirranda ran away to the 11-goal victory. 

Townsend praised the efforts of Katie Ryan and Kristy Ludeman after the pair played a key role in the victory. 

“Katie had a really nice game and I’m really happy with how she has been playing in the second half of the season,” she said.

“Kristy had a fantastic game and she is really starting to find her feet in wing attack. She had to adjust this year as she usually plays centre and I thought she is coming into our own really well.”

Georgia Haberfield was also one of Nirranda’s best players.

Mellissa McKenzie

Mellissa McKenzie

Timboon Demons coach Kelly Gowland said she was disappointed in the missed opportunity after her side got within four goals of the Blues at the final break.

“I thought we had a really good opportunity to get on top there,” the playing coach said.

“I was really happy with our third quarter and then we faded in the last quarter and that was enough for them to jump away.

“Unfortunately we had the windy end in the last quarter and it made it really difficult. You had to be really good with you passes and our goalies were a bit off as you would expect with the wind.”

Gowland highlighted Mellissa McKenzie and Cloe Marr as two of the Demons better players on Saturday.

“I thought Cloe did a really good job on Steph (Townsend), who is obliviously their coach and one of their best players,” she said.

“Mellissa also did a really good job on Jo coach. I was really pleased with those two.”

Experienced goal shooter Hayley Plozza (13 goals) was the Demons’ third best player.

Nirranda takes on Dennington next Saturday, while Timboon will take on Old Collegians next Sunday.

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