Rupertswood responded in perfect fashion to a first up finals loss, with a big win on Sunday locking in an Essendon District Football League division 1 preliminary final spot.
After being put to the sword by Deer Park the previous week, Rupertswood showed why it has been a top three team with a convincing win against Hillside.
Hillside started the better of the Sharks in the first quarter, but it was all Rupo after quarter time.
Six goals to none in the second quarter opened the game up and Rupo was able to maintain the momentum on the way to a (114)-6.8 (44) win.
Rupo coach Arron Bray said it was a really good way to bounce back.
“I thought our contested work and our pressure were pretty much A-grade today and that is what our game is pretty much built on,” he said. “I’m pretty happy.
“I think talking to the group last week, we had four or five who had played a senior final but a fair few had played reserves finals.
“We sort of knew it would have a factor against Deer Park and getting that win today gives them a lot of confidence into next week.”
Bray and playing co-coach Dean Galea were frustrated at quarter time having had plenty of the ball, but not having good inside 50s.
They challenged the group at quarter time and it worked.
“We spoke about it at quarter time, we’re blazing away,” Bray said. “We know that it’s pretty hot in the kitchen and good players lower their vision when they go inside 50.
“We did that and got the results at the end of the day.”
Bray said both sides like to get their running game going and it was always going to be the team that forced the ball carrier to make mistakes quicker that would take control of the game.
Galea finished with four goals on his old home ground at Joe Brown Oval, while Jacob Chahine kicked three goals.
Jordie Tentnello, Jackson Cardillo and Galea were named their best.
Bray said it was really positive for the club to see a number of younger players who have come through their junior system really stand up when it was needed.
“Young Aaron West is just out of the 18s and he gets the biggest job in football each week in this division and he does it really well,” he said.
“Last week he kept [Todd] Elton to one goal and [Josh] Covelli might have got a couple early, but that was it and I think he had the better of him on the day.
“Jordie is as brave as they come. He does all the right team things. Bailey Verrall on the wing there, just 17 and he hasn’t even got his car licence, and he was really good for us.”
Rupo do have a couple of injury concerns with Cam McRorie suffering a shoulder injury and Logan Johnson leaving the field after a heavy knock.
Bray said he expects them to be right for the preliminary final, while Brent Swallow and Dylan Podolczak should return.
The Sharks now face West Coburg in the preliminary final after suffering its first loss of the season in the other semi final to Deer Park.
Bray said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by that result. He said the group is looking forward to the challenge ahead of them.
“It’s back here [Keilor] as well,” he said. “We’ve had a run out here now and we’ll recover well and see where it brings us at the end of the day.”