HORSHAM Saints booked a preliminary final date with cross-town rival Horsham following their 35-point first semi-final win over Warrack Eagles in a see-sawing contest at Dimboola Recreation Reserve on Sunday.
The match was right in the balance at three-quarter time, before the Saints put the result beyond doubt with a three-goal-to-zero last term.
Saint Steven Thomas put in a brilliant four-quarter effort and big man Heath Watson kicked three first-quarter goals, while experienced campaigners Garry Hallam and Phil Butsch lifted when it mattered in the last term.
Warrack was gallant in defeat, coming back from 48 points down in the first quarter to get within seven points at the main break.
Playing-coach Tim Inkster wore his heart on his sleeve for the Eagles, despite almost pulling out with a foot injury.
Key forward Peter Weir was a good focal point and young gun Dalton Jaensch was not overawed in his first senior final – both kicked three majors – while Alex Ross did a good job in keeping Gavin Kelm to one goal.
It was all the Saints in the first term as they booted the opening eight majors of the game.
Michael Rowe dominated the ruck against part-timer Dean Gunn, while Pat Knott and Hallam all got plenty of the ball.
Poor disposal and turnovers were the Eagles’ main downfalls, with the Saints pouncing on every mistake.
Click here to read more footy stories at our Footy HQ hub
The Saints’ lead was creeping up to 50 points before Warrack finally broke its drought with one minute remaining, with Inkster leading by example with a sensational running goal.
After squandering his first two chances, Weir slotted one through to give the Eagles a positive start in the second term.
It started a massive momentum shift with Warrack booting six goals to zero for the term to trail by just seven points at half-time.
Saints defender Dennis Adams was keeping the Eagles in the match with a number of undisciplined acts, which resulted in two goals.
Despite no breeze to speak of, goals continued to flow at the clubroom side of the ground as the Saints went out to a 20-point lead.
But another 50-metre penalty against Adams resulted in a Warrack goal shortly after – this time to Brad Krahe.
When Jaensch kicked his third goal late in the quarter, the Eagles were down by 13 at the final change and in with a real chance.
But two goals on the trot from Rebels-listed Jacob O’Beirne ended any hope of a Warrack revival.