Central West AFL: Dubbo Demons hold off fast-finishing Bathurst Giants to move into share of fourth

WINNING: Mick Daly (centre) and the Demons lost to the Giants earlier in the year but turned the result around on Saturday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK
WINNING: Mick Daly (centre) and the Demons lost to the Giants earlier in the year but turned the result around on Saturday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

Beating the side which entered the weekend in second spot is one thing, but it was the manner of Saturday’s victory which was most pleasing aspect for Dubbo Demons coach Will Bunt.

After stating pre-game his side’s Central West AFL season could be over with a loss to Bathurst Giants, Bunt’s Demons held off a rallying opposition to claim a 12.9.81 to 8.16.64 victory at South Dubbo Oval.

While the Giants were missing some key players, the Demons still had to dig deep in defence late on to seal the 17-point victory.

The win moved the Demons back into a share of the all-important fourth spot with the Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws.

The toughness shown to rally when the Giants got back within less than 10 points in the final quarter was what stood out most to Bunt.

“That was a really good sign,” he said.

“It got back to about six or eight points at one stage and then we won by about 18 so we really dug in and held them off.

“We’ve got to be realistic, they were missing some big-name players and were under-strength but they stuck it to us and they’re a real chance for the premiership.”

There were few highlights early as the Giants went into the second quarter with a one-point lead.

That was where the hosts began to lift, and after getting in front the half-time lead stretched out to 17 points.

The lead held steady in the third quarter and the Demons went into the final term with a 9.6.60 to 5.12.42 buffer.

The Giants rallied and finished the game with more scoring shots, but some real strength and pressure in defence, as well as the accurate boots of Bevan Charlton-White and Tom Budd, helped the Demons get home.

“We’ve got multiple targets to look at and some of our rovers chipped in with goals,” Bunt said, Charlton-White booting five goals while Budd landed four.

“But I think the big part was the win was set-up by defence. They had more scoring shots but they kicked a lot more behinds.

“The pressure we applied didn’t make it easy and, like I said before the game, we wanted to turn that defence into attack.”

The Demons sit behind the Outlaws on percentages and face a tough run home with games against the top three of Orange Tigers, Bathurst Bushranger Rebels and Bathurst Giants, again, in the final four games.

The Outlaws’ run home includes a derby clash with the Rebels and a game against the winless Parkes Panthers.

“They way we dug deep (on Saturday) is really good for confidence,” Bunt said.

The coach said the one disappointing part of the game was it was a “spiteful” encounter, something which games between the two clubs aren’t normally.

“It soured it a bit,” Bunt admitted.