By Tara Murray
Keilor put in a gutsy performance to overcome Aberfeldie and be the first team through to the Essendon District Football League premier division grand final.
After kicking the first goal of the game, the Blues were doing the chasing for the next three quarters.
After trailing by as much as 22 points, the Blues hit the front midway through the last quarter and held on to win 9.13 (67)-7.11 (53).
Blues coach Mick McGuane said it was a taxing game in some tough conditions.
For much of the first half heavy rain was falling, making it difficult for players.
“I’m just full of admiration for this group,” he said.
“Full credit has got to go to the players, they fought it out and now get the week off.”
Despite kicking just one goal in the first half the Blues were well and truly in the game.
They kicked a couple of goals early in the third quarter, before the Gorillas responded.
At three-quarter time the margin was 16 points and it was quickly 22 points when the Gorillas kicked the first goal of the last quarter.
McGuane said they did not give up hope at the last break. He said the weather clearing up also helped to fire up their team game.
They also started to use the fundamentals such as ball handling, decision-making and the balance between kicks and handballs.
“It was about 39 inside 50s at that end of the ground to 18,” he said.
“So we knew we were kicking to the end of the ground where most of the ball had lived.
“It was always going to be hard.
“We’ve got a lot of ability to score and we didn’t play well in the first half.
“We changed the way we wanted to play and we gave our forward line a good look and controlled territory in the last quarter.
“To kick 5.6 against a team up by 22 points with 27 minutes to play, not many people saw that coming.”
McGuane was also full of praise for Aberfeldie and the pressure they put on his side.
Matthew Clark kicked three goals, all coming in the third quarter.
Stefan Radovanovic, Todd Stevenson and Dylan Joyce were named the Blues’ best.
McGuane said they would take some lessons from the win into their next match.
“It was a taxing game today and we’re going to sit back and enjoy the moment and then get to work. We’ll … get our heads around this moment and enjoy it.”
McGuane said they were unlikely to get
any of their injured stars back for the grand final and any changes would come from the reserves.
The Blues will play the winner of the preliminary final between the Gorillas and Strathmore in the grand final.
While the Blues will go and watch that match, McGuane said they will be focusing a lot of their attention on their reserves side which will play off in a preliminary final this weekend.