A THREE-goal burst in the final four minutes of the third quarter gave Milawa the buffer it needed to hold out a gallant Moyhu in Saturday’s first preliminary final.
The Demons had held sway by 25 points at the main break, but the Hoppers fought their way back into the contest through the hard work of Ben Waite, Jaimon McGeehan, Jeremy Wilson and Anthony Welsh.
Moyhu dominated play for much of the third period, but messed up a couple of chances when they fumbled the ball and panicked in front of the big sticks.
Still, when McGeehan gathered the ball on the run and quickly got his boot to it for a goal, the Hoppers were well within reach, 10 points down at the 21-minute mark.
Those 21 minutes of gut-busting work went to waste, however, as the Demons delivered a volley of counter punches that effectively knocked the Hoppers to the mat.
Ben Clarke emerged as Milawa’s go-to guy in the final quarter, snapping the ball over his shoulder to register his third major and increase the margin out to 31 points, which would remain the difference between the two sides in the end.