The 10.9 (69) to 4.6 (30) win was set up when the Burra kicked three goals to nil into the breeze in the first stanza.
When the Demons managed to get the ball inside forward 50 in the term, it was often under pressure, or their final kick inside the arc was errant. Adding to Mernda’s woes was the early injury to Matthew Golledge – ending his day.
The Burra were up six goals to nil late in the second quarter, but a late goal by Christian Cawsey gave the Demons a glimmer of hope.
It sparked a mini-revival for Mernda. The home side booted the first two goals of the third term and got within 18 points late in the term. Its best goal was a set shot by Adrian Stefanile on an acute angle.
A late goal to Daniel Dober against the run of play helped the Burra to a four-goal lead at the last change.
The Demons threw everything at St Mary’s. Stefanile booted the first major of the final term.
But Jacob Yeomans iced the game for the Burra. He booted two last term goals. Each was as a result of good work from team mates.
His first came from a good centring kick from Myles Guldon. The latter came after Nick Dean handballed a ball out of traffic to Yeomans in the clear. Guldon also managed three goals of his own.
Chris Petroro has now played a few games back after missing a huge chunk of football and looks to be a vital addition heading into the finals. His precision kicking skills were on display.
“We came with the objective of maintaining effort and intensity,” St Mary’s coach Fabian Carelli said. “We did that and finished the game off strongly.”
Carelli was pleased with the efforts of Dillan Ronalds in the midfield. He also liked the work of Jordan Galea – who worked in the ruck and continually gave second and third efforts at ground level.
With both sides often playing a spare in defence, it was a tough day for forwards. Mernda’s loose man in defence was Mathew Campbell and he played the role extremely well.
With help from fellow defenders Krystopher Douglas, Dayne Kellett and Tom Deayton, the Demons ensured the score line did not blow out – important given percentages going into the final round.
A minute’s silence was held prior to the game for Chris Atkinson – a Mernda club trainer and stalwart who tragically passed away on Thursday evening.
“We hope we did the Atkinson family proud,” said Mernda coach Paul Derrick. “We couldn’t get over the line, but we hope to finish off the season well.”
The Demons now cling on to fourth spot on percentage – with 111.18%, leading Laurimar on 108.43%.
Mernda’s final regular season game is against Panton Hill at Waterview Recreation Reserve.
With Laurimar hosting Reservoir at Laurimar Reserve in the final round, it is likely the Demons will have to defeat Panton Hill to clinch a finals berth. Even if they do, there is a high possibility they may be overtaken by the Power on percentage.
St Mary’s goes to Round 18 four games clear of both Panton Hill and South Morang. The Burra will host the Lions at Whatmough Park in the final round of the season.
Final score: Mernda 4.6 (30) defeated by St Mary’s 10.9 (69)