Greensborough dismantled North Heidelberg in the second semi final at Preston City Oval, running out 98-point winners to breeze into the Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 Grand Final.
The Boro were never truly challenged, flying out to a 37-point quarter time lead that they never relinquished in the 22.16 (148) to 7.8 (50) result.
Charlie Molyneux set the tone for Greensborough, kicking two of his four goals in the first term to establish an early buffer.
North Heidelberg’s hopes of staying in the contest were dashed when a Shane Biggs running goal was reversed due to his shot being touched off the boot.
From there, North Heidelberg never recovered. A missed Brent Harvey shot at goal after the quarter time siren epitomised their fortunes, as they headed into the first break trailing 6.4 (40) to 0.3 (3).
Greensborough’s run off half-back was telling. Jack Johnston was rampant from defence, constantly starting attacks with unstoppable run and superb ball use.
Fighting against the wind, Greensborough held firm and put more goals on the board to effectively end the game by half time – leading by eight goals at the main break.
Jarrod Fitzpatrick was a lone contributor up forward for North Heidelberg. He kicked two of his three goals in the second term to give the losing team some respectability.
His first goal was symptomatic of North Heidelberg’s inability to break Greensborough’s defence, as they had to maintain possession for a long time before finally sneaking through for a major.
Five goals in a row to start the second half signalled Greensborough’s intentions of turning a dominant performance into a massive win.
Tom Bell was everywhere for the Boro, with his strong frame and silky skills setting up many a goal. He snapped through one of his own late in the third quarter to rapturous applause from the Greensborough faithful.
Leading by 90 points at the final break, Greensborough once again moved the ball freely through the middle of the ground to kick more goals. Zak McCubbin was a force up forward, continually causing North Heidelberg headaches as he went on to slam through four goals.
Greensborough’s ball movement was simply outstanding. They stamped their authority as favourites to take out the flag with another solid team performance.
Liam Read managed to snag a last-quarter goal that capped off his superb efforts in the ruck.
North Heidelberg avoided a harrowing three-figure loss through some consolation majors by Kyle Green.
They still walked off Preston City Oval with their heads bowed, as both Brent and Shane Harvey failed to finish the game due to being under injury clouds. The former was well held by Adrian Cataldo, who blanketed the AFL games record holder all day.
Greensborough managed to get through the game with a clean injury slate and will have another fortnight to prepare for the Grand Final. The Boro appear to be the clear favourites for the flag after a dominant season, where they have won 18 of 19 matches.
North Heidelberg will have to bounce back quickly and will play either Heidelberg or West Preston-Lakeside in the preliminary final for a chance to redeem themselves against Greensborough in the Grand Final.
Final score: Greensborough 22.16 (148) def North Heidelberg 7.8 (50)
Goal Kickers: C. Molyneux 4, Z. McCubbin 4, B. Pannam 3, J. Desmond 2, J. McIvor-Clark 2, T. Smith 2, M. Haynes, J. Johnston, T. Bell, B. Fennell, L. Read
Best Players: J. Johnston, T. Bell, C. Molyneux, C. Clark, M. Haynes, Z. McCubbin
Goal Kickers: J. Fitzpatrick 3, K. Green 2, K. Jaksic, D. Harris
Best Players: R. McGhie, J. Fitzpatrick, M. Florance, J. Brown, D. Harris, S. Biggs