Kalgoorlie coach Justin Tarasinski has backed his players to bring the same intensity to a must-win clash this weekend after his charges dominated after half-time to upset Mines Rovers, 11.8 (74) to 7.9 (51), in Sunday’s Goldfields Football League first semifinal.
The Roos finished two wins and percentage adrift of the third-placed Diorites, but they produced a level of consistency that Tarasinski has been seeking all season — underpinned by a seven goals to three second half.
Michael Stevens and Thomas McGowan combined for five goals to lead the charge for Kalgoorlie, who now face 2022 premiers Railways in Saturday’s preliminary final.
Some of the gloss was taken off the black-and-whites’ victory with a hamstring injury to midfielder Matt Bogensperger, but Tarasinski praised an otherwise solid performance that yielded 4.0 in the last term.
“We did a fair bit of planning and homework on the game (because) we’d known for four or five weeks exactly who we were up against in the first week of the finals,” Tarasinski said.
“We had that time to work on a number of things, but ultimately our pressure game was on song yesterday (Sunday) which was a key focus area for us.
“We won the tackle count 69 to 41 and that was a key indicator on where our pressure was at.
“It just meant that we were up in Mines’ face for the entire game and didn’t allow their usual run-and-gun transition from the back-half from which they score so often.
“It was a really good effort across the board to stick to the things we’d planned.”
Kalgoorlie’s tactics included extra attention for opposition playmaker Gerald Ugle.
“We managed to nullify Gerald Ugle and shut him down with a tag after he’d destroyed us in the previous game,” Tarasinski said.
“We probably brought a few things that Mines weren’t expecting and that included (negating) Matt Braham’s influence through the midfield.
“Our Achilles heel for the entire season has been our inability to play four quarters, but it’s been a mental thing rather than a fatigue/fitness issue.
“I suppose a turning point for us, in terms of building that belief, was our game against Railways a few weeks ago when we won the second half after a pretty poor first half.
“It just showed our ability to turn things around and basically run a game out.
“We went into the second half (against Mines Rovers) full of confidence and managed to run the game out very well.
“That’s Railways’ strength as well, so it’s going to be a real physical contest and I know the boys are up for the challenge.”
Mines Rovers coach Marc Johnstone lamented a lack of scoring opportunities in the absence of injured key forward Jordan Strahan.
“They (Kalgoorlie) put a fair bit of work into Gerald (Ugle) and Nick Reghenzani and there were probably half a dozen of our good players who lowered their colours on the day,” he said.
“Kalgoorlie are a good side who I can really see pushing Railways because they have a couple of big forwards, some solid backs and a massive ruckman.
“Once they were at full strength, they’re pretty complete.”