Despite an overhaul of the playing list, a new coach and their time being touted as over at the start of the season, Navarre is through to another Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League senior preliminary final.
The Grasshoppers showed the same determination against Talbot on Sunday as the one that led them to four consecutive premierships.
Navarre went in as underdogs against the Hawks and they started like so, allowing Talbot out to an early two-goal lead.
Navarre kicked the first three goals of the second term, including a 50-metre goal on the run to Aaron Slorach to put the Grasshoppers up by a goal, but the Hawks answered with the next three goals, to regain the lead of 12 points at half-time.
“We saw in the first or second quarter when we applied a lot of pressure they started to fold,” Navarre coach Kyle Hendy said.
Despite Navarre’s confidence at half-time, the Hawks continued to control the scoreboard, blowing the lead out to 23 points going into the final term.
“I told our boys that we had nothing to lose. Everyone could go in and back themselves and do what they can to get us across the line,” Hendy said.
The Hawks looked to be heading to a preliminary final berth, but the Grasshoppers had other ideas and completely dominated the final term as they restricted Talbot to just one behind. Navarre had twelve shots on goal to kick six final quarter goals, including three more goals to Aaron Slorach, who finished the day with seven goals.
Navarre prevailed 13.11 (89) to 11.5 (71).
“We hung in there all day and did not let them get too far ahead which was key,” Hendy said.
“At each change they were within grasp so we knew we could catch them. They only ran from the centre line forward so we knew we could catch them out on the flip side with quick ball movement going inside our 50.”
Hendy said he saw noticeable changes with his side in the final term to get across the line.
“The first two quarters we were just kicking and hoping but in the last quarter everyone lowered their eyes and hit up targets,” he said.
“It was great to see everyone shut down their opponent and create scoring opportunities in the last quarter. We were also a lot hungrier for the footy.”
Hendy said Slorach was a standout with his marking and goalkicking while Nick Murphy also had a good game.
“Nick played well through the middle and forward while the usual suspects of Jesse Hannett, Sam Kaye, Louis Hannett and Josh Fowkes weer good again.”
Navarre will now meet Carisbrook in a preliminary final this Saturday.
The Grasshoppers have not missed a preliminary final since moving to the MCDFNL in 2011.