WEDDERBURN full-forward Sam Barnes booted 15 goals against Birchip-Watchem on Saturday to steer the Redbacks to a 144-point win and top the North Central Football League goalkicking for the third year in a row.
The Redbacks continued their strong form in the lead-up to the finals, trouncing the Bulls 29.11 (185) to 6.5 (41) at Birchip.
With his bag of 15, Barnes ended the home and away season with 59 goals, overtaking Wycheproof-Narraport’s Corey Jones (54) for the 2013 goalkicking title.
The Redbacks produced a consistent four quarters, kicking six goals in the first term, nine in the second, eight in the third and six in the last in what was their sixth win in a row that they will take into finals as they chase their third-straight premiership.
As well as the dominance of Barnes – whose 15 goals followed 10 against the Bulls in their previous meeting in round 14 – other standouts for the Redbacks included Danny Benaim, Adam Postle, Nathan Holt and Ben DeAraugo.
The Bulls’ better players were led by Harrison Christie, ruckman Zac Holmes and Jacob Christie.
Having played in the preliminary final last year, Birchip-Watchem ends the season on the bottom of the ladder with one win.
● St Arnaud retained second position and the double chance following a comprehensive 128-point belting of Donald in another one-sided game.
The Saints led by three points at quarter-time, but that’s where the contest ended.
The Saints slammed on 20 goals to three after quarter-time in their 25.22 (172) to 6.8 (44) victory, which set up a second semi-final against minor premier Charlton in a fortnight.
Coach James McNamee, Josh Chapman (four goals), Dion Munkara and Ross Tungatalum (four goals) were the standouts for the Saints.
Forward Lucas Anderson kicked four of Donald’s six goals to be one of the Royals’ best players.
Also playing well for the Royals – who end the season with five wins and a draw – were veteran Ross Funcke, Jordan May, Blake Luheman and William McAllister.
● Corey Jones kicked eight goals for Wycheproof-Narraport in the Demons’ 19.8 (122) to 6.12 (48) victory over Boort.
The Demons were never threatened by the Magpies, and by half-time were already 10 goals up.
Jones was the best player on the ground, with other strong contributions for the Demons coming from Samuel Driscoll, Joel Turner (two goals) and Kieran Prestidge.
The Demons will now turn their focus to this Saturday’s first semi-final against Wedderburn.
The 74-point loss was Boort’s seventh in a row to end the season. Matthew Hodoras (two goals) was the Magpies’ best player.