Nerves of Steele* see Demons through to the big dance

Mitch Skelly | 04.08.17

*Credit to X.Holland for the headline

Demons 3.5 (23) def Swans 3.3 (21)

It was all or nothing as the She Dee's conference side ventured up to Bounds Green to take on the Swans in a replay of the round 10 epic draw. With a chance to make the #DEE5 official there was excitement, nerves and a hint of confidence in the air.

Kicking up hill against the wind in the first quarter we got off to a really positive start. The first half of the quarter was all Demons and Steve had the best chance; running into goal, with a Swan standing in the goal square, anything above 2m in height would have got the Dee's off to a flyer however the makeshift goal keeper made a great save and we remained goalless. The Swanettes did manage to get one late and take a lead into the first break.

Now with the advantage of a breeze and a 9 degree decline we were confident of a big 2nd term and Sarah continued her ruck dominance. With Ri and Connos starting to get busy a goal seemed just around the corner, however the Swans defended with gusto and repelled all of our attacks. Down back LV was sweeping up all the loose footy with French Steph and Juice providing the physicality. It's a bit of a blur, but I think we were down by 2 goals at half time...

Another quarter into the breeze, this time we mixed things up with Steve playing behind the ball as a loose defender and handling this role very well. Despite kicking to the non-scoring end we look like we meant business and worked the ball forward often. Ryano, who was dangerous all day, got her hands on the footy and kicked from close range... Everyone seemed to assume the ball would roll through for a point but not Captain Pinky! Pouncing on the footy she slotted home the first of the day. Minutes later she made a great chase and tackle to win a free kick, her pass to Jenna then resulted in another shot falling agonisingly close. Despite the best efforts of H and the other defenders the Swans managed to snag 1 more before the final change of ends and take a 12 point lead into ¾ time.

The time had come to throw caution to the wind and go full gas. The instructions were simple, focus on nothing but the footy and how you're going to get it forward. As per usual Sarah was smashing it in the ruck, even with some tired legs, and Ri and Connos were coming into their own as their fitness showed through. We had all the play in our end, causing a mass of swans to drop back into our forward 50. The first breakthrough came with a Steve goal of the year contender, collecting the ball 35 out and snapping through the middle of the big sticks. The huge Demons crowd erupted and you could feel something special was about to unfold. With around 4 minutes to go the play of the day unfolder, Arnie kicking to Ryano who then went over the top to Gnat running into open goal - the ball just didn't quite sit up for her and resulted and a Demons point. We never gave up and it was inside the final 2 minutes when we had the ball deep in our forward 50, Ryano managing to centre the footy to the top of the square - in a mad scramble the ball ended up with Jenna who showed her 'nerves of Steele' slotting home to put the Dees 2 points up and send the crowd wild. With 90 seconds left we had control of the game despite a centre square infringement. As the final siren sounded the red and blue army rushed the pitch and the celebrations began!

It was an awesome moment and will go down as one of my fondest footy memories. Our conference girls should be so proud of their efforts so far this season as it's not easy being a '2nd team' playing against the opposition first teams and making it all the way to the Grand Final. Thanks to everyone that made the journey to North London, having that support on the side-line is like having an extra played on the park. One more game against the undefeated Wildcats - we know it's going to be tough, but with team spirit, hard work and maximal effort from all players anything is possible.

Goals - Pinks, Steve, Steeley
Best - Ri, Sarah, Connos, Ryano, Elle V, Steve

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