LAHARUM is in its first Horsham District Football League grand final since 2008 after a huge win against Edenhope-Apsley at Dock Lake Reserve on Saturday.
The Mountain Men finally put any doubts about their status as a superior team to rest with a complete performance that left the Saints bewildered.
Laharum was committed and ruthless from the start, putting 45 points on the board in the first quarter before Edenhope-Apsley kicked its first score – a behind.
The Saints’ faithful came to life briefly in the second quarter when a run of four consecutive goals brought their side back within 23 points after the margin had blown out to 48 early in the term.
Brent Christie received a down-field free kick after Robbie Miller’s late hit on Dave McLeish and slotted the goal to give them hope, but Jason Przibilla had other plans.
He booted his first goal to stop the run and followed it with another in the third quarter to effectively end the game.
Shannon Argall kicked the first two goals of the match after being set up by Przibilla and finished with five.
But they were far from the only contributors in the Mountain Men’s forward line.
Daniel Griffiths kicked three and Rhys Bennett also had three in a superb best-on-ground performance.
Laharum had 10 goal-kickers in total, with five players managing multiple goals.
In contrast, Edenhope-Apsley did not have a multiple goal-kicker until Cam Domaschenz kicked his second early in the last quarter.
He finished with three for the match, while co-coach James Dixon also booted three.
There were few winners across the board for the Saints.
Brent Christie and Dave McLeish tried hard in the middle but did not have their usual impact.
Will Middleton did well to negate Miller’s influence, while Hayden Cartledge and Shayne Williams gave their all and never accepted defeat.
The Mountain Men could easily have named more than 10 players in their best after a dominant performance.
Saints co-coach Mal Coutts said his side had just been outplayed.
“We weren’t good enough and Laharum was too good for us – it’s as simple as that,” he said.
Coutts said the Saints’ younger crop of players had to develop for the side to regain its status as a premiership contender.
He said the club might be in for some pain as it developed its youth in the next couple of seasons – but it would pay off.
“Heartbroken is when you have a real red-hot crack during the game and just get beaten, but to put up something like that, it’s time to do a bit of soul-searching and wonder where they can improve and what they can do between now and next year,” he said.
“You can go away and say ‘we finished third, that’s fine’ but I’ve spoken to a couple of young blokes about what they need to do to present themselves next year and that’s where we’re at.”
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Laharum president Cameron Mibus said it was an ideal way to lead into the grand final.
“It was a great performance by everyone who played,” he said.
“We matched up well against Edenhope-Apsley and everyone did the task they were asked to do at the beginning of the game.”
Mibus said the players would draw from the win and ignore the 79-point loss they received at the hands of Kalkee in the second semi-final.
“If we come out from the start and play like what we did against Edenhope, it should be a different result from what it was two weeks ago,” he said.