HORSHAM Saints booked their spot in the first semi-final after a comfortable 45-point elimination-final win over Minyip-Murtoa at Horsham City Oval yesterday.
The Saints withheld a brief third-quarter fightback from the Burras to progress through to the second week of finals where they will battle Warrack Eagles at Dimboola Recreation Reserve on Sunday.
The injection of North Ballarat Rebels quartet Keegan Mellington, Jacob O’Beirne, James Richards and Darcy Tucker proved to be a vital dose of pace and enthusiasm that the Saints had lacked in the past month.
Alex McRae, Jacob Cooke-Harrison and Pat Knott also found plenty of the ball, while veteran sharp-shooter Gavin Kelm was handy up forward with five goals.
Kade Petering, Adam Gerdtz and Jayden Beaumont had consistent afternoons for the Burras, with Clinton Midgley and Tim Mosquito going up a gear in the second half.
The only sour note for the Saints was a suspected thumb injury to Tucker late in the match.
Tucker had x-rays last night to determine the extent of the damage.
It was a dominant start from the Saints, who racked up the possessions and inside-50s in the opening term, with teenagers O’Beirne, Mellington and Tucker all prominent.
Mellington kicked the first of three first-quarter goals for the Saints, but poor kicking cost them a larger lead than 23 points.
The Saints went bang, bang through Phil Butsch and Cam Dempter to start the second term and the margin was out to 35.
Gerdtz finally broke the Burras’ drought at the 15-minute mark, but that was swiftly replied by Heath Watson.
Things got ugly late in the term with young Burra Matt Coleman rushed to hospital after a knock to the head, with officials calling half-time early as the Saints led by 34 points.
Minyip-Murtoa looked fired up after the break, spurred on by the first-half incident.
Kimberley recruit Mosquito and young gun Petering were getting plenty of the ball, while Midgley became a real presence up forward. Midgley kicked the Burras’ second before Nathan Tepper got his side within 28 points shortly after.
But Brendan Broadbent’s charges kicked three of the next four majors, mainly thanks to the swift ball movement of Cooke-Harrison, Knott and O’Beirne.
A late Declan Foott goal gave the Burras a sniff as they trailed by 35 points at the final change.
Kelm added two quick goals early in the fourth quarter to put an abrupt end to Minyip-Murtoa’s season.