MELBOURNE-based forward Ben Fraser has lifted Kolora-Noorat out of the finals doldrums, booting four goals to lift the Power within reach of a grand final berth.
Fraser’s four majors set the tone as his side powered through reigning premier Nirranda, posting a 7.9 (51) to 2.12 (24) qualifying final victory on Saturday.
The 27-point triumph made amends for the Power’s straight sets finals exit of 2016.
Fraser said a spread of forwards was a genuine strength of his side.
He told The Standard Kolora-Noorat was thrilled to emerge “relatively unscathed” from the scrappy encounter.
“We were able to isolate contests really well (against Nirranda) and kicked over the top well. We were able to create one-on-ones which was great,” Fraser said.
“The even spread we’ve got is great, with Sam Harkin and Mark Clissold contributing down there.
“It takes the pressure off. Having three or four avenues definitely makes it easier than having one or two avenues to goal.”
Nirranda led by two behinds at the first change, before the Power produced a second-quarter burst of four goals. The Blues managed just two behinds in response.
Kolora-Noorat coach Danny Finn said his side was “a little bit lucky” to be just two points behind at the first change, inspiring a stern quarter-time address.
“We were probably a little bit second to the ball in that first quarter, we were rushing a little bit as well,” Finn said.
“We addressed that and I gave them a rev-up at quarter time in regard to getting in a bit quicker and not panicking with the footy.
“We were able to get things back on our terms. They fought the game out, but we were able to back our game in and that got us over the line.”
Finn’s men are now set to meet minor premier Old Collegians in a second semi-final next weekend, with victory assuring the Power a sixth grand final berth in a decade.
The third-year mentor highlighted his team’s defence as the most pleasing aspect of the triumph.
“Our defence is the cornerstone of how we’re going to shape up over the next four weeks,” Finn said.
“If we can tighten up and then be first to the footy, it’s going to make the opposition defend.
“It’s one of those things in that we had belief, ability to respond, blokes carrying the load, willing to sacrifice, run.
“I think brave and gutsy are a couple of words that come to my mind, but we just tried to outwork them after quarter time and to some degree, we did that.”
Dangerous forward Mark Clissold suffered a hamstring injury and is certain to miss the second semi-final, while assistant coach Ben Walsh is battling a back injury.