Blues “bulldoze” Demons at Preston

IMG_0019

A relentless four-quarter performance was behind yesterday’s 55-point triumph, Tim Michell writes. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Murdoch)

THE year was 2010.

Josh Fraser was playing for Collingwood, Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister and Northern Blues won four games in a row to storm into the VFL grand final.

The Blues had not repeated that winning stretch until Sunday when — under Fraser’s guidance — they bulldozed Casey Demons by 55 points.

The club was known as Northern Bullants the last time it contested finals in 2011.

Fraser’s side is playing like a team capable of ending that lengthy drought, with only Box Hill Hawks and Port Melbourne ahead of the Blues after Round 5.

“We are learning to win and handle winning,” Fraser said.

“That is a different space for a lot of our players. There’s an expectation on us now, last year these wins were validation we were on the right track.

“Now we expect them to be more regular. While clubs might be hunting us, we are still very much hunting opposition teams and trying to earn that respect.

“We are far from a finished product.”

Northern Blues limited Casey to two goals in the opening three quarters at Preston City Oval, establishing a 65-point lead by the final break.

The Demons showed fight in the last term to trim the final deficit, with three goals from Bayley Fritsch among their few highlights.

However it was always going to be the Blues’ day as they controlled the contest from the outset to record a 14.14 (98) to 6.7 (43) victory.

Blaine Boekhorst, skipper Tom Wilson and Liam Jones were influential for the victors, while Sam Kerridge led their disposal count with 28.

Kristian Jaksch booted five goals to lead Northern Blues to its fourth win of 2017.

The Blues next host Sandringham in a top-four battle on Saturday.

“It’s been a big collective effort,” Fraser said.

“Pleasingly (on Sunday) our Development League boys had their first win of the season.

“I’m pretty excited about the depth of talent we’ve got and the people around the club.

“It’s an exciting footy club to be at. We know we have got a lot of hard work in front of us, but to get some results has been really pleasing.”