Keilor Park secure final place

Keilor Park’s Ryan Monument flies from behind to try and out-mark Burnside Heights’ Michael Tabone. Picture Damian Visentini

It’s been a nerve-racking few weeks for Keilor Park, but it’s finally secured that fourth finals spot in Essendon District Football League division 2.

The Devils have been in the box seat for the past month, but a couple of losses took it down to the final round.

A massive win against Burnside Heights on Saturday completed the turnaround from last season, when the Devils finished one up from the bottom of the ladder.

Devils’ coach Marcus Barclay said it was exciting to make finals after the club’s performance last year.

“It was a bit touch and go. In the last three to four weeks we had a couple of losses; which meant we had teams breathing down our neck.

“Last season we finished second bottom. [and] finished up … losing to Moonee Valley by 100 points.

“None of them thought they would be playing finals this year.”

On Saturday, the Devils faced winless Burnside Heights. The win was never in doubt, with the Devils taking out the game 22.18 (150)-4.4 (28).

“It was about winning and playing a brand of football that we want to play next week,” Barclay said. “We had four or five players back in, and the game was done and dusted by half-time.”

Kirk Wintels and Nate Trotter were a two-pronged attack up forward, kicking six and five goals respectively.

Jake Thomas was best on ground, and he was well supported by Shane Barry and David Mole.

For the Bears, Tim Withers was the only multiple goal-scorer, kicking two goals.

Barclay said he hopes to have more players return to the side for the semi-final.

“We could have four or five players back, and could be at full strength for the first time this season.

“There’ll be a few fitness tests. Pretty much all year we haven’t had to drop anyone, as we’ve had injuries every week.

“As it gets to finals, everyone becomes available.”

The Devils will take on Moonee Valley, playing for a spot in the preliminary final. Roxburgh Park and East Keilor play each other in the other semi for a spot in the grand final.

The Magpies hold a 2-1 record over the Devils this year but having made finals, the Devils aren’t looking to just make up the numbers.

“It’s always a goal to play finals, but this year it was more of a fingers-crossed thing.

“The way the group gelled together and got going, we’ve already won, but you can’t tell the players that. They are confident to keep going.”