Navarre make it

MCDFL - Navarre have reached their second consecutive Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League grand final following a gritty 23-point win over Maldon at Princes Park on Saturday.

The Grasshoppers looked nervous early, with Maldon looking more polished and it showed on the scoreboard.

Maldon booted 3.4 before Navarre managed to break through with a goal to Louis Hannett.

Straight after, Ash Driscoll received a free kick that resulted in a goal and the Grasshoppers were back in the hunt.

Daniel Reading was working hard through the midfield and he hit up Josh Rathgeber, who goalled to give Navarre a two point lead at quarter time.

Coach Daniel Parkin said fundamental mistakes were the reason for the poor start.

Navarre had too many turnovers in the opening 10-11 minutes and their tackle count was down, however once they settled they started to look like premiership contenders.

It was tough in the second term, with both sides putting their body on the line.

Goals to Josh Rathgeber and Louis Hannett saw Navarre extend their lead to 14 points at the 10 minute mark.

Maldon could only add a behind to their quarter time score as the Grasshoppers went into the main break 16 points ahead.

Parkin was pleased with his side's second term effort.

Turnovers decreased from nine to four, the Grasshoppers had 12 inside 50s and they were tackling hard.

"The stats showed we controlled that quarter of football. We just need to sharpen up round the forward line a little more," Parkin said.

"We need to focus on how we're going to keep control of the game. This is a critical quarter (third), we can't afford to relax. They never give up."

Parkin's words rang true, as goals to Carroll, Tom Cain and Nicholas McKnight saw Maldon wrestle back the lead seven minutes into the third term.

Ben Scott then stood up for the Grasshoppers, fighting his way through the midfield while Bryce Tickner kicked a goal late in the quarter to reduce the margin to two points at three quarter time.

Parkin urged his players to dig deep in order to keep their premiership hopes alive.

"Dig deep and don't leave anything in the tank," he said.

"We need to improve our decision making going forward and start hitting targets. Take your time and kick it."

Parkin heeded his own advice with a goal in the opening two minutes that saw Navarre find the front again.

From there, the Grasshoppers never looked back.

Driscoll kicked his second goal for the afternoon and Brent Moloney got in on the act to give Navarre some breathing space.

Stepping up to fill in for his brother Jayden, who was injured in the under 17s, Josh Fowkes neatly side stepped to kick his first senior goal and Navarre were home.

A late goal to Maldon didn't matter with Kris Brennan quickly replying as Navarre ran out winners, 13.10 (88) to 9.11 (65).

Assistant coach Andrew Murphy was extremely pleased by Navarre's performance.

"After a terrible first half of the first quarter and first half of the third, everyone stood up and never gave up," he said.

Meanwhile, Parkin told the team to enjoy themselves and take in the celebrations before a training run in Ballarat tonight.

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