Navarre’s run of Maryborough Castlemaine District senior football grand finals is over, losing Saturday’s preliminary final to rivals Carisbrook.
The Grasshoppers were up against the odds in their bid for an eighth consecutive MCDFNL grand final appearance, with the Redbacks well and truly favourites.
Despite the differential between the two sides throughout the season, Navarre was able to run with the Redbacks in the first term, trailing by just three points at the first break.
“The feeling was we were getting on top of them. We started to get some real belief we could beat them,” Navarre coach Kyle Hendy said.
“Last time we played them they got off to a good start so a big focus was trying to stay as close to them as possible early.”
Any hopes of a fairytale upset were quickly dashed in the second term as the Redbacks showed why they are the team to beat again this season, kicking four goals to none but amassing 13 scoring shots at goal.
The Grasshoppers were also unable to kick a major in the third term as the lead blew out beyond 70 points.
“Going into the second and third they outran us with a a lot fresher legs,” Hendy said.
“Coming off a hard game last Sunday with just a six-day break probably took its toll.
“They moved it from their defence to attack with ease and showed why they are a quality side.”
With just pride on the line in the fourth quarter, the Grasshoppers won the term to finish behind 13.21 (99) to 5.6 (36).
“No one in that last quarter dropped their head, I asked them to take pride in the jumper and that’s what they all did,” Hendy said.
Jesse Hannett kicked three of Navarre’s five goals in the win, while Josh Fowkes was best on ground once again for Navarre.
Carisbrook will meet the Swans in the grand final next weekend, looking to defend their 2017 premiership.
Despite missing out on a senior grand final berth for the first time since joining the MCDFNL, Navarre will be pleased with the progress that has been made this season.
“Everyone wrote us off and said we might not have even made finals at the start of the year. I think we have done a great job to get to a prelim and play two great quarters against a side like Carisbrook,” Hendy said.
“I’d be confident to say most of the players will stay round.
“After the season we have had I think their is excitement about where we can go in the next few years.”