KALKEE will play its seventh consecutive grand final after completely outclassing Laharum in Saturday’s second semi-final at Rupanyup Recreation Reserve.
The Kees were dominant from the get-go.
Scores were locked at seven apiece early in the first quarter, but Kalkee scored seven successive goals from that point to grab a stranglehold on the game.
Steve Schultz helped his side set the tone from the start and was rewarded with best-on-ground honours.
Laharum fought back briefly in the second quarter and narrowed the 32-point quarter-time margin to 24.
Robbie Miller and captain Sam Winfield were both influential, but could not sustain the charge for the Mountain Men.
Kalkee was never challenged again on its way to a 79-point win.
It was hard to single out individual winners for the Kees as the whole team dominated.
Veteran Josh Mibus was solid as always in defence and small forward Ash Hastie led the goal-kickers with six – but several young performers stood out just as much.
Josh Webster impressed in the backline after returning from the North Ballarat Rebels, while Sam Jasper showed flashes of brilliance with his pace on the wing.
For Laharum, Shannon Argall was the lone forward who looked consistently dangerous and outplayed opponent Ben Hobbs to notch five goals.
Northern Territory import James Wray was the Mountain Men’s best, while young players such as Daniel Griffiths and Daniel Easson made the most of their opportunities.
Kalkee spearhead Josh Beddison was knocked out late in the third quarter and was stretchered off the field.
Kees coach Matt Beddison said Josh was heavily concussed but was still a chance to play in the grand final in two weeks. He said the team remained as hungry for success as ever as it moved to within one win of its sixth consecutive premiership.
“We’re looking forward to it because each one is different,” he said.
“In our side we have a new captain who will captain his first grand final and young guys who haven’t played finals and been in a grand final. There’s also a number of guys that are getting a bit older and might not get the chance to play in too many more so we don’t have too much trouble staying motivated.”
Beddison said the performances of Kalkee’s ‘big-game players’ such as the Schultz brothers, Mibus and Tim Wade showed excellent signs ahead of the grand final.
Laharum coach Marcus Demaria said his side was not competitive enough despite its brief second-quarter revival.
“It’s no good doing it for 15 minutes and then being down for the rest of the game,” he said.
“When the ball was there to be won, they were there and we weren’t – it’s as simple as that.”
Demaria said the Mountain Men still possessed the ability to rebound in Saturday’s preliminary final against Edenhope-Apsley and earn a re-match with the Kees.