A DOMINANT third quarter has secured Horsham Saints a place in the A Grade grand final.
The Saints beat minor premiers Warrack Eagles 55-44 in a preliminary final at Murtoa on Sunday.
The win means the Saints will battle Horsham next week for the chance at a second consecutive premiership.
The Eagles took the upper hand early in the match and opened up a four-goal lead by the first break.
Saints shooter Maggie Caris started to come into the match more in the second, and the Saints managed to pull the margin back to one by half-time.
But it was the third quarter where the Saints really shone.
They shut down Eagles goal attack Megan Werner and kept her scoreless for the quarter and her team to just five goals.
The Saints added 14 goals of their own to set up an eight-point lead by three-quarter-time.
The final quarter was a much more even affair, but still the Saints had the momentum and control of the match. They went on to win by 11.
Saints coach Shannon Reinheimer said her team came out firing in the second half.
“We sat down at half-time and gave each the other confidence and belief that we could come back,” she said.
“We brought Abby Hallam on in wing defence for some fresh legs in the defence end to try to create some turnovers, and that really worked.
“But we also had that belief that we deserved to win and be there in the grand final.”
Reinheimer said the chance to defend their premiership title from 2017 was a dream come true.
She said the team was looking forward to the decider against Horsham, who the Saints beat in the last match the two teams played in round 10.
“That does give a us a little bit of confidence that we can match them, but we can't take them lightly at all,” she said.
“They're a young quick side and are very tough.”
Eagles coach Jane Richardson said the third quarter was hard going for her side.
“We just struggled to score. They scored the first nine or so in that quarter and made our job a lot harder,” she said.
“We just didn't get enough of the ball in our ring, or have enough attempts at goal.”
Richardson said it was bitterly disappointing not to make the grand final.
“It's the second year in a row we've gone out in straight sets,” she said.
“But we think we've got a good team and they have a window of opportunity in the next few years to challenge for a premiership, so I hope they stick together and give it another go.”