DENNINGTON secured itself a finals double chance with a 39-point win over Merrivale on Saturday.
On their home ground the Dogs had too much firepower for the Tigers, the 12.17 (89) to 7.8 (50) win their fifth in succession and making them one of the form teams of the competition.
The two sides won’t have to wait long for a rematch as they are scheduled to play in the qualifying final in a fortnight.
Dennington has had to come from an elimination final in the last two finals series so coach Ben Parkinson is happy to have a double chance.
“At the start of the pre-season we set ourselves a goal to make the top three so it is good to be able to tick that off,” Parkinson said.
“We know from here on in the footy gets harder and tougher and faster and we are in the position to have a good crack at it.
“I thought we played really good football for four quarters today which was pleasing because we know against the good teams if you have a lapse you will pay for it.
“Merrivale are a good team and we didn’t give them a lot of space on the outside and we were able to pressure their disposals into the forward line.
“Our press was amazing today. We didn’t give them a lot of options and really limited what they could do with the ball.”
While the Dogs defended well they also impressed at their attacking end with key forwards Andrew Niklaus and Chris Keilar kicking four goals and Darcy Lewis two. It was a productive day for Keilar in what was his 100th appearance for the Dogs.
One of the stars for Dennington was young ruckman Josh Lock, who rucked for most of the day against the experienced Merrivale pairing of Manny Sandow and Rhys Raymond. The efforts of the hard-working big man drew high praise from his coach, who said Lock had taken the honours.
Dennington held a seven-point lead at quarter-time before a match-winning second-term burst the contest wide open.
In a low-scoring game the Dogs’ ability to kick four unanswered majors for the quarter to open a 35-point lead at the long break was significant.
Both teams kicked five goals for the second half, Brad Kelly kicking three for the Tigers, while Alister Porter was again their best player.
After a shock loss to Nirranda last week, Allansford got its finals preparations back on track with a 106-point win over Russells Creek at Mack Oval.
Full-forward Justin Nowell continued his sparkling form with nine goals for the Cats while ruckman Darren Kelly kicked five of his own.
Joel Cornelissen was named the Cats’ best player while Shaun McDougall was again the star performer for the Kangaroos.
Nirranda made it back-to-back victories when it proved too strong for South Rovers at the Cobden Recreation Reserve.
The day belonged to the Blues’ Jesse Dalton, who produced a standout seven-goal performance.
He had good support from Ricky Spokes with three goals while Adam Atkinson and Luke Kensit were busy all day.
The foundation for the Blues’ win was laid in a dominant first quarter of seven goals to none to blow the Lions out of the water.
Jack Sheehan was best for the Lions, while Brent Clements was their leading goal kicker with three.