BATHURST Bushrangers have added an extra bit of intrigue ahead of this Saturday's AFL Central West senior women's preliminary final against the Demons by beating the Dubbo club in the last round of the regular season.
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Bushrangers upset the Demons at George Park 2 in a 3-1-19 to 2-3-15 result to give themselves a big mental boost ahead of the teams' rematch in a sudden death situation.
The hosts earned their win on the back of a spirited defensive effort and their two-goal opening term, with Angela Evans kicking a pair of goals for the Bushrangers in the victory.
Bushrangers coach Pat Fisher said it's great to see his side bringing top notch football at the right time of the season.
"We had a really good start, and then no-one scored in the last quarter. We had the ball forward for a lot of the last quarter and a half, and we kept it down there which limited their scoring," he said.
"It's a great result for us a week out from finals. We're very happy with the result and I'm proud of the girls.
"Obviously we want to beat them again this week. That's the one that matters. No-one's going to remember that we beat them last weekend if we can't back it up, but winning is great because we've taken a lot of confidence out of it.
"We know that we can beat them now and the way that they played was phenomenal. They never took a backwards step and took it to them the whole time."
Following the Bushrangers' strong opening quarter the two clubs traded a goal before half-time then the Demons got themselves within striking distance thanks to a third quarter goal.
That was to be the end of scoring for both clubs as a tense, scoreless final quarter saw much of the game take place in the middle of the ground.
Bushrangers survived a late surge downfield from the Demons inside the last minute to secure an important win.
"The heart was definitely beating on the sideline in that last quarter, I tell you," Fisher said.
"Dubbo were running forward towards the end and I heard their coach yell out '30 seconds' and I was just thinking 'Get back', but we were able to take a mark. I could breathe after that.
"The midfield battle was really close and tightly contested. Dubbo had their moments when they got on top, but when we got the ball forward we had the mindset of keeping it down there for as long as possible.
"That's something that's really been starting to work for us over the last few weeks. Even if we don't score, keeping the ball down there really helps us out."
But it was in defence where the Bushrangers really shone.
"We played Nicole Jones, who's only in her second year of footy, on Lauren Hazell and she kept goalless. Millie [Amelia Wright] and Abs [Abbie Hardie], off the half-back flank were phenomenal and CC [Cecilia Kenter] at fullback was great," Fisher said.
"I thought Tomika in the middle was great. She normally plays in the backline and stood up really well."
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