Ryan Henley booted a hat trick of last-quarter goals to lift Centrals to a 30-point win over Waroona on Sunday afternoon.
Former AFL stars Mitch Clark and Ash McGrath teamed up in the Centrals forward line for the first time since their clash with Waroona in round three, but it was Henley who stole the show with a brilliant final term to help secure an 8.11 (59) to 13.11 (89) victory.
The crafty forward finished with four in what was a beacon performance for the Blues, booting three of them in the final term as his side broke away for a win that strengthens their hold on second spot.
Henley also booted the first of the game as Centrals put their foot down with a strong showing in the opening quarter.
Jarrad Smith was a one-man wall intercepting several of the Demons’ forward entries and setting up passages of play for Centrals.
His hard work sparked a number of runs allowing the Blues to keep Waroona goalless in the first term while booting three of their own.
But it was a totally different Demons outfit that turned out for the second quarter.
Alan Wilson enjoyed a purple patch and some pin-point delivery from his midfielders to boot three consecutive goals in the opening five minutes of the term, and the Demons were suddenly in front when Brayden Sutton kicked truly.
Former Brisbane Lion Clark returned the favour with his first of the day at the other end to ensure Centrals would take a one-point lead into the half time break.
With Matt Buxton marking everything that came his way and Grant Dunn dominating the possession count Centrals were able to make the early push in the third.
They instantly responded to Waroona’s Mathew Thomas booting the first of the quarter with goals to Matthew Wray and McGrath.
But a horror five minutes for the usually ultra-reliant Paul Mugambwa allowed Waroona back into the match.
Mugambwa gave away a 50m penalty to set up a goal for Sutton, and was done for holding the ball twice in the ensuing five minutes.
The former WAFL star made up for his mistakes with some gut-running when moved into the middle, but it was Waroona’s Steve Cameron kicking truly on the cusp of three-quarter-time to bring the Demons within four points at the final break.
The match looked set to go down to the wire but Centrals, led by Henley’s three majors, were all class in the finish nailing six goals to the Demons’ one in the final term.
Henley’s three were the first goals of the quarter, and it could have easily been four straight had he not hit the post on his final attempt.
The victory helps Centrals sure up a home final and a second chance, as they now would have to lose to Baldivis by a large margin to be ousted from second spot.
They still have a chance to finish on top if Pinjarra are miraculously upset by the cellar-dwelling Mandurah in the final round.