HORSHAM Saints have prevailed in an enthralling elimination final against Warrack Eagles.
The contest was a see-sawing affair from the outset, with both teams holding the ascendancy at various times in the match.
The Eagles landed the first blow when they cleared the ball out of the middle and got it into their forward 50 within the first 10 seconds. Jeremy Clayton crumbed and booted the ball towards goal, but it sailed cross the face for a behind. The Saints then rebounded and hit the scoreboard with a major.
But the lead did not last long. Eagle Jack Wilson won a footrace on the wing and booted the ball into Clayton, who this time kicked truly from deep in the pocket to give the Eagles their first goal.
The on-field pressure was intense, with at least three held balls paid in the first seven minutes.
The teams traded goals for the remainder of the quarter, but at the first break it was the Eagles by nine.
The Eagles cleared the ball from the first bounce in the second quarter, but a turnover saw the Saints covert at the other end to cut the margin.
The Saints then entered the 50 again when a Matt Combe kick reached Jacob O'Beirne. He kicked truly to give the Saints the lead.
Clayton then bagged another for the Eagles before O’Beirne again hit the scoreboard for the Saints.
The Saints snagged another, but not without controversy. Eagle Shannon Argall was sure he touched the ball on the bounce, but it was ruled a goal.
The Eagles got one back deep into time-on, and trailed the Saints 43-51 at the main break.
Clayton slotted the first goal of the third to get the Eagles back within a goal.
Argall then converted from a set shot near the goal square to put the side in front, before bagging another goal later in the term to get the Eagles up by 13.
Clayton popped up again to slot the Eagles' fourth of the term before the Saints hit the scoreboard.
The goals went back and forwards for the rest of the term, but it was the Eagles who went into the final quarter with the lead.
The momentum swung again in the last as the Saints came out firing to slot goals in succession.
Angus Gove then lined up from about 50 and booted a goal to put the Saints in front, before Matt Combe slotted another to extend the lead and steer the Saints to victory.
Saints coach Luke Fisher said his team knew it could get over the line.
“We've got a group that goes one of two ways. They're a young group and sometimes when you're challenged, especially on the scoreboard, they read into it and they'll sit down,” he said.
“Today we just put it out of our minds. When we kept pressing and they couldn't get it into their 50 much in the final quarter, we always had that belief.
“We kicked goals pretty quick that put as back in the game.
“It was a well ground-out effort.”