CORRYONG secured its first finals victory since 2008 and ended the flag aspirations of league powerhouse Bullioh with a hard-fought 11-point victory in the preliminary final at Corryong on Saturday.
In a see-sawing affair, Corryong led by 10 points at the final change and held its nerve in a tense last quarter to prevail 13.11 (89) to 12.6 (78).
Bullioh had its chances in the final quarter, getting within five points with less then three minutes remaining after coach Peter Dean kicked his first goal of the match.
But league medallist Shannon Gilson was able to kick the sealer in a tension-filled finale and clinch the Demons’ first grand final appearance since 2008.
Demons coach Andrew Reid was ecstatic to make the decider after exiting the finals in straight sets last season.
“It’s been a long process but highly satisfying to know we are in the big dance,” Reid said.
“Full credit to the boys, it’s where we wanted to be and we have managed to get there.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work but I have finally got the guys on the same page and last week against Cudgewa it didn’t quite work out.
“But I think that loss may have been a blessing in disguise.”
Classy midfielder Evan Nicholas was the Demons’ best and his five goals in the relatively low-scoring contest proved priceless.
Nicholas was also involved in several goal assists with spearhead Adrian Rijnbeek restricted to one goal by Bulldogs best and fairest winner Clint Ried.
Tom Hickey played a lone hand up forward for the Bulldogs to also finish with five goals with Jade Culph finding the going tough opposed to James Paton.
Defenders Brenton Low, Jonathon Damm and Cody Edwards were also prominent for the Demons.
Edwards returned from a shoulder injury to have an immediate impact and provided plenty of grunt from defence with his fearless attack on the ball.
Reid said the Demons were worthy challengers to raging flag favourite Cudgewa, with the Blues holding a 3-1 record in their four encounters so far this season.
“We learnt quite a few lessons when we lost the second semi-final against Cudgewa,” he said.
“We don’t underestimate the challenge but feel if we can produce our best football it will be good enough.”