PANMURE has back-to-back premierships firmly in its sights after a 20-point second-semi final victory on Saturday.
The Bulldogs have a grand final berth and flag favouritism in their keeping after dealing Kolora-Noorat its first loss of the season at D.C. Farran Oval, Mortlake, 12.7 (79) to 6.23 (59).
In an incredible game, it took until three minutes into the third quarter for the Power to kick their first goal.
Previous to this they had kicked 14 behinds in conditions that apart from a slight cross-breeze were perfect for football.
By days end the Power had accumulated 10 more scoring shots than their opponents but to blame poor conversion would be an injustice to Panmure, which was too good.
From the start it was a game worthy of a big final, with the two best teams in the competition going at each other.
It was played at a frantic pace, with both teams looking sharp and in good form.
But it was the Bulldogs who were able to exert a presence on the scoreboard, with the first goal of the day a gem from Jye Bidmade who roved a split mark from his own short pass to run into an open goal and kick truly.
A free kick and 50-metre penalty to Simon O’Keefe soon after enabled the Panmure coach to pop through a second goal for his team.
Kicking truly was proving to be an impossible task for the Power, who despite having the upper hand in general play in the second half of the quarter had only five behinds to show for their work at quarter-time.
The Power continued to control the possession count and forward entries in the first half of the second quarter but the Panmure defence was making sure they couldn’t put this advantage on the scoreboard.
Kolora-Noorat kicked seven behinds from its seven scoring shots for the quarter and Panmure was able to match that scoring output but with just two shots at goal.
Full-forward Gary Robinson showed his value to the team when he marked and goaled from 40 metres out close to the half- time siren, to help maintain Panmure’s 10-point margin at half-time.
Three minutes into the third quarter and with 14 behinds on the board, Kolora-Noorat finally managed its first goal of the game when Mark Clissold converted a set shot from 15 metres out.
The next goal of the game came at the 14-minute mark when Luke Rounds sailed one through and incredibly the Power were five points in front and looking like they may charge away and extend their winning run to 19.
But the goal from Rounds signalled the start of an amazing period of the game, where goals came thick and fast and caught everyone off guard after such a low-scoring struggle to that point.
James Keane and O’Keefe kicked the next two goals to give Panmure the lead back by seven points, before young Kolora-Noorat forward George O’Sullivan reduced the margin back to a one point with a goal on the run just a minute later.
It looked like a shootout was about to ensue but Panmure stood up and announced this was to be its day.
In the next five minutes goals from Keane, Sam Mahony and Jye Bidmade took the Bulldogs out to an 18-point three-quarter-time lead and with control of the game back in their hands.
The first goal of the last quarter came off the boot of Kolora-Noorat’s Sean Bourke at the six-minute mark but it was always going to be a false dawn, with Panmure now dominating general play.
The Bulldogs kicked four of the last six goals to claim victory in the latest chapter of the fierce rivalry these two clubs have built up.
One of the stars for Panmure was co-captain Sam Mahony, who said the Bulldogs had a clear focus of how they wanted to play.
“All-round work ethic. We concentrated on that before the game,” Mahony said. “We thought if every bloke could beat their direct opponent it would have a good outcome at the end of the game.”
Mahony said the team’s focus would now turn to recovery.