THE Murray Bushrangers turned in a five-star performance to roll Dandenong Stingrays by 26 points in the first qualifying final at Ikon Park on Sunday.
COME ON: Murray Bushrangers coach Leon Higgins calls for a big finish against the Dandenong Stingrays on Sunday.
After a tight three quarters, the Bushrangers broke the shackles with marking forwards Trent McMullan and Lachie Tiziani hitting the scoreboard.
They kicked five and four goals respectively to finish the good work of Will Brodie, Jake Page and James Cousins.
FORWARD PLAY: Young Corowa-Rutherglen forward Jy Lane drives the Bushrangers forward at Ikon Park on Sunday.
Page finished with 29 possessions and Cousins 26 while Brodie capped off another strong performance with 10 clearances.
Ruckman Esava Ratugolea also did plenty of damage around the ground.
Dandenong stayed in the contest largely through the class of Josh Battle who had six goals by three quarter-time.
But the supply dried up late as Leon Higgins’ side charged into the preliminary final in fine fashion.
“We have been building,” Higgins said.
“Ithought this performance was coming for us.
“We dominated the stats last time we played Dandenong but our forward-line didn’t quite function.
“They got it all together today.
“They continued to push and push and push and we broke them in the final quarter.
“It was a really encouraging performanceheading into a preliminary final.”
Dandenong led 3.2 to 0.1 at quarter-time before the Bushrangers fought back to lead by a goal at half-time after majors to Page, Tiziani, McMullan, Cousins and Jy Lane.
It was goal-for-goal in the third stanza with the Stingrays leading by three points at the last break.
In more good news for the Bushrangers, they came through the final unscathed on the injury front.
“We have a clean sheet at the moment,” Higgins said.
In the other qualifying final, Geelong Falcons defeated North Ballarat Rebels by 37 points at Box Hill.
Max Augerinos,Brett Blair andJackson McLachlan stood out for the Falcons with Blair booting five goals.
Sandringham edged outEastern Ranges by two points in the elimination final withCorey Lyons best afield.
Oakleigh Chargers hammeredCalder Cannons by 106 points in the other elimination final.
Nick Larkey andAlex Trigar were on fire with nine goals between them whileLachlan Walker continued his good form around the packs.
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