Centrals started their Peel Football and Netball League finals campaign in cracking form when an inspiring performance from Jacob Martinez and three goals from Grant Dunn helped them storm past Baldivis on Sunday afternoon.
A dominant third quarter gave a serious boost to the Blues’ premiership credentials as they rampaged through to a qualifying final win with a 4.12 (36) to 14.16 (100) victory at Baldivis Oval.
The game started as a tussle with some inaccuracy from the Mundijong-based side letting the Brumbies off the hook in the first.
Callum Collard looked lively in the Blues’ forward line with a pair of goals in the opening term but majors to Brieghton Shea and Aden Field helped Baldivis stay in the picture.
But from there the Brumbies would be kept goalless for the next two terms, with Centrals taking total of control of the game.
The Blues booted two goals as the tussle (and their inaccuracy) continued in the second, but their stout defence and ability to win the contested ball gave them a 25-point buffer at the half.
It was in the third that they truly sparked into life, with a six goal to zip quarter giving them an unassailable lead.
Dunn scored all three of his goals in the defining quarter, while Lee Murray, Matthew Thompson and Matthew Leipold all chimed in as Centrals made their way to a 59-point lead at the final break.
The Brumbies did manage to finish strong with goals to Zak Quigg and Jarrad Heal, but it did little to change the result.
Centrals will now move into a clash with a rested Pinjarra outfit with the luxury of another second chance should they lose, while Baldivis stare down the barrel of a straight sets exit should they lose to Rockingham in their semi final.
Brumbies coach Craig Hamersley was confident his side would respond.
“We’ve had a pretty down three weeks given the expectations we set for ourselves throughout the season, but we know we can match it with anyone in the league when we’re at our best,” he said.
“We asked some tough questions of ourselves after the loss on the weekend but I’m really confident in our group’s ability to respond and get back on the right path.”
The second-year coach said Rockingham presented similar challenges to Centrals.
“They play a pretty similar game – very fast off their backline, deadly forwards – so we’ll need to be better prepared if we want to keep our season alive,” he said.
“We’ve had some really good battles with them this season so we’re hoping we’ve learned some lessons from those.”
The Brumbies take on Rockingham this Sunday, 3pm at Baldivis Oval while Centrals travel to clash with Pinjarra in the same time frame.