CHARLTON booked its spot into the 2013 race for the Halfhide Cup by beating St Arnaud by 28 points at Donaldson Park, Wedderburn on Saturday.
Patrons who witnessed the match between the Navy Blues and the Saints got value for money, with the lead changing throughout the game and only a goal separating the teams at the final break.
It was Charlton which struck the first blow when Dan McGrath kicked a goal at the two-minute mark.
From then, the scoring opportunities dried up until late in the term.
St Arnaud’s Ross Tungatalum showed some magic to bring up the first major of the second quarter to give the Saints a small lead, but Rhys Thompson and McLean goaled soon after and the Navy Blues were back in front.
The Saints went on to kick three further goals for the term through Liam Cunningham and Tungatalum.
St Arnaud coach James McNamee got into the action to extend the lead of the Saints only to see his counterpart Reece Collins do the same at the other end of the ground.
With the Blues up by five points at the long break, both sides made some positional changes.
Collins and Angus McKenzie both goaled for the Navy Blues in the third quarter to give them back the lead by just three points.
Click here to read more footy stories at our Footy HQ hub
St Arnaud centre Lee Stewart responded and put the Saints back in front, while Dionysuis Munkara kicked truly and extended the Saints’ lead to nine points.
Charlton lifted its work rate to halt the Saints’ efforts to extend the lead further.
Anthony Judd, Josh McKee and Ben Roberts all goaled and the Navy Blues had turned it around to lead by two goals.
Charlton extended its lead in the final quarter when Aaron Walklate goaled.
Roberts got on the end of a good passage of play to put the Navy Blues 16 points up and boost their chances of advancing to the grand final.
McNamee reduced the lead with his fifth goal of the day and the Saints trailed by less than two goals in time-on.
But their hopes were dashed when a 50-metre penalty was doubled and Charlton’s Thompson goaled.
Charlton won through to its first grand final since 2009.
The Saints now face Wedderburn at Boort at the weekend to decide who will challenge Charlton for the Halfhide Cup.