Ararat has kept its season alive with a hard-fought 23-point semi-final win against the Horsham Saints.
In challenging conditions, the Rats outlasted a spirited Saints outfit to clinch a 10.7 (67) to 6.8 (44) victory.
From the outset, conditions dictated proceedings as neither side managed to get a read on a swirling wind.
The Saints went on the front foot, determined to make the most of an increasing tailwind.
The full-throttle approach paid dividends, with three well-taken majors pushing the Saints to a 14-point lead at the end of the first term.
The Saints would be left to rue missed opportunities, however, as Ararat fought back.
The Rats started the second quarter energised, and quickly cut the deficit.
Lachie Hamilton led the charge in the forward line and went to work terrorising the Saints' defence.
Six unanswered goals in the second quarter guided the Rats to a 7.2 (44) to 3.4 (22) lead at half-time.
With the wind behind their backs, the Saints took to the field in the third term with a big task ahead of them.
An industrious Saints midfield managed to tear away from their opponents regularly but were left lacking options in the forward 50; mainly in part to a forced change in the line-up.
A pre-game injury to Michael Rowe saw Angus Martin shift into the ruck and placed a greater demand on young Nick Caris in the forward line.
The pair impressed - Caris bagged a team-high two goals and Martin was named the Saints' best - but were unable to cut back the lead.
Ararat only managed three points in the third quarter but went into the huddle holding a 10-point lead.
Despite the slim margin, it was an uphill task for the Saints, with the wind picking up as the game progressed.
The task was made near-on impossible when Jack Ganley slotted a goal - his second for the day - in the term's opening minutes.
A last-minute goal offered some consolation, but the siren brought to an end a resilient season for the Horsham Saints.
The Rats will now face the Giants next weekend.
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