First-term finesse powers Bay to prelim final
AUSSIE RULES: Has the Bay Power that started the season with 11 wins in 13 games returned when it matters most?
Coach Michael Gay has recently lamented how his side stopped doing what worked in those first 13 weeks of the regular season - in which they built an eight-point lead atop the AFL Wide Bay table - and allowed themselves to be bullied into three losses in their last five games.
The Power shot out of the gates in Saturday's preliminary final against Brothers Bulldogs. They led by 39 points at the first break, which effectively sealed the result, then concentrated on playing football and working on tactics as they cruised to a 11.13-79 - 5.10-40 victory on home soil.
Power captain Josh Wheeler credited his side's superior hunger at first bounce.
His coach said similar.
"We started how we started the season off," Gay said.
"Our pressure at the ball was a pleasing part, it set us up."
The Power's win, along with Hervey Bay Bombers' qualifying final loss, sets up the fourth Battle of the Bay of 2018, but the most important.
The winner will carry a town's premiership hopes against AFL Wide Bay newcomers Gympie at Norm McLean Oval on September 1.
"It won't be an all-Hervey Bay grand final, so from the town's point of view it might be a bit disappointing, but for us, we've got to go and win another game of footy against another side," Gay said.
Wheeler said he expected the dangerous Bulldogs outfit to come out firing.
"We knew it was going to be hard, they pumped us up there the other week, but I always had confidence in the boys that we could get the job done," Wheeler said. "There was a bit of feeling but that's footy, that's finals footy, that's the contest.
"I think we'll just prepare the way we usually do. We know what they're like, we know what the rivalry is about, there's a spot in the grand final on the line. Both teams will come out hard, we have to come out harder but it's not going to be easy."