Bundoora books ticket to NFL Division 1 grand final with come-from-behind preliminary final win over Northcote Park

BUNDOORA willed its way into the Northern Football League Division 1 grand final with a lion-hearted preliminary final win over Northcote Park on Sunday.

The Bulls trailed by nine points with 10 minutes to play at Preston City Oval before goals from Danny Younan, Gary Moorcroft and Isaac Muller stamped their ticket to the big dance.

Well held throughout an absorbing contest, Moorcroft stood tall with two goals in the last term after Jordan Perry had inspired the Cougars to a nine-point three-quarter-time lead.

The midfielder showcased his quality with two goals in three minutes to send Northcote Park 17 points clear during the third term.

Nathan Thomas’ set shot on the siren trimmed the deficit and handed Bundoora momentum heading into the final quarter.

Signs were ominous for the Cougars when Moorcroft marked a wobbly punt from playing coach Ricky Dyson and slotted his first major.

But when Julian Violato answered at the opposite end four minutes later, the pressure shifted back onto the Bulls.

It took 10 minutes for Younan to produce a moment of individual brilliance, nudging Tyson Old under the ball and pouncing to bring Bundoora within three points.

Ricky Fandrich had a shot to give Northcote an eight-point lead which landed short with six minutes to play and the Bulls sensed their moment.

Paul Dirago dropped a contested mark with Moorcroft lurking and the veteran made him pay, rolling the ball home from 40m to give Bundoora the impetus for a 9.13 (67) to 8.9 (57) win.

“We knew that the longer the quarter went, the more chances we were going to have to score goals,” Dyson said.

“It ended up like that.”

Minor premier Macleod awaits the Bulls in Saturday’s grand final.

The Roos hammered Bundoora by 72 points when the grand finalists clashed in Round 8, but the Bulls got within one point at DeWinton Park in Round 14.

“We set out at the start of the year saying Macleod were the best team in it and they have proven that over a long period of time this year,” Dyson said.

“But grand final day is a different day. There’s two teams and funny things happen.

“We’ll back ourselves in to take it right up to them. Our first contest against them they were really good and we learned a lot from that.

“The last time we played them at Macleod it was a really good contest.”

Seven players from the club’s epic 2013 grand final win over Montmorency featured in Sunday’s preliminary final triumph.

“It is a fairly new group, but in saying that, the guys that played in that premiership will be able to draw from it,” Dyson said.

“In a grand final you are never out of it.”

Northcote Park coach Matt McLennan was left frustrated by the 10-point loss.

“I had a full head of hair at the start of the year and it was brown,” McLennan said.

“Now it’s grey and my hairline keeps marching back.

“It’s one of those things, at this level and this time of year, it’s that 10 per cent that can bite you on the bum.”

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