By Mitch Terpstra/NEAFL Media
The Canberra Demons have found themselves back on the winners list after a 35-point victory over the Redland Bombers on Saturday afternoon at UNSW Canberra Oval.
The Demons were able to lead the whole match thanks to some accurate goal-kicking and big performances out of key returning players, ending in a 14.6 (90) to 7.13 (55) victory.
It was a strong start by the Demons, kicking the opening four goals of the game and were looking great out of the blocks. Canberra midfielders Alex Smout, Mitch Maguire and Jordan Harper were all getting plenty of the football and spreading to all parts of the ground.
Redland were having trouble getting any deep entries inside 50 for the whole match, which playing coach Phil Carse said didn’t hurt them when looking to score.
“We were really our own worst enemies with the way that we brought the footy inside 50, and credit to Canberra I thought they were really clean with their entries and made the most of them.” Carse told neafl.com.au
“[We were just] shallow and wide with our entries and we weren’t getting too many shots from the dangerous territory today and with a big cross breeze it made it extremely difficult and hard to score.”
Canberra half-back Matt Vardanega played a crucial role early getting plenty of intercept marks and run off half back, with Maguire saying he has been building his game on.
“He is very much a confidence player and when is up and about he is as good as anyone and at those intercept marks and running off and giving us a lot of drive off of the backline,” Maguire said.
“It was really good to see him stand up today and there is no reason why he can’t be that 20 to 25 possession player every single game and take a lot of intercept marks.”
As the match went deeper it was clear that Redland were starting to warm up to the cold and windy Canberra conditions with more of the ball reaching their forward 50.
Matt Hammelmann was starting to get a few more touches and was looking dangerous but was not able to convert in front of goal on a consistent basis, ending the game with 4.7.
The second quarter was even with two goals apiece for either side. Redland would have been disappointed not to edge closer to the home side as they were within two points and had the ascendency for much of the second quarter, something that was a highlight for Carse over the game.
“We kept ourselves in the contest all day and we never waved the white flag and let them completely get away, I thought that we played decent footy across the four quarters,” he said.
Canberra came out of the half time break with a good patch of football that saw them land two quick goals to Tom Faul and Harry Carr to put them in a strong position once again.
Redland were competing around the ground and were certainly in the contest but poor goal-kicking up forward was hurting them the most, recording five behinds for the quarter.
As Canberra held a 30-point margin going into the last quarter, they needed to keep their foot to the pedal and to finish the game strong.
That’s exactly what Canberra did as the last quarter went goal for goal before the Demons truly sealed the result with two great goals from Sam Martyn and Alex Paech.
“We knew that we had to win and going into the last quarter we knew we had to win by a pretty handy margin to help boost our percentage a bit,” Maguire said.
“So, it was nice to see us get a win and by a bit of a margin as well.”
Canberra will look to take their winning form against the bottom placed NT Thunder at home as they search for a place inside the NEAFL’s top six next week.
“The focus will be bringing exactly what we were able to produce today with our pressure and our intent and our ferocity around the ball is what wins you the game,” Maguire said.
Meanwhile the Bombers will look to create an upset against a very good Southport side at Scottsdale Park, with Carse saying their delivery and entry into forward 50 will be the focal point during the week.
“Very much our last kick inside 50 I think just really making the most of that and ensuring that we get the football into some dangerous territory and hopefully hitting the scoreboard a bit more effectively,” he said.
Canberra Demons v Redland Bombers at UNSW Canberra Oval
CANBERRA 5.1 7.2 10.5 14.6 (90) REDLAND 2.4 4.6 4.11 7.13 (55)
GOALS – Canberra: H Carr 3 R Corbett 2 A Paech 2 A Swan 2 R Pollock K Evans T Faul M Hardie S Martyn. Redland: M Hammelmann 4 S Mills H Bertoli-Simmonds C Cameron.
BEST – Canberra: M Maguire A Baker M Hardie A Smout T Highmore A Bruce. Redland: C Malone A Williams H Bertoli-Simmonds S Mills C Spence M Hammelmann.