NATTE Bealiba has swooped over the top of Newstead to grab a top-four position and a double chance in the Maryborough-Castlemaine District Football League finals.
The Swans spent 14 of the 16 rounds outside the top four, but their 102-point win over Campbells Creek on Saturday, coupled with Newstead’s loss to Lexton elevated them to fourth.
The Swans tuned up for the finals with a crushing 26.13 (169) to 9.13 (67) win over the Creekers.
Natte Bealiba did the bulk of its damage in the middle two quarters when it piled on 18 goals to four.
Twelve players kicked goals for the Swans, led by Karl Morely (five), Ryan Weir (four), Jacob Long (three) and Stephen Ross (three).
Lachlan Cameron, Long and Ross were the best for the Swans, while the Creekers - who will next week play their first final since 1999 - had good players in Joel Smith (three goals), Daniel Klimeck and Joshua Adamson.
• Newstead was unable to maintain the top-four position it had held since round two after going down to Lexton by 41 points.
For the third time in their past seven games the Steaders were held to five or less goals in their 9.16 (70) to 4.5 (29) defeat to the Tigers.
The 41-point win was the 15th in a row for the Tigers and led by performances from James Templeton, Daniel Chester, Lachlan Murray and Michael Smith.
Adam Hunter, Zachary Tanner and Nathan Webster worked hard for the Steaders, who kicked two of their four goals in the last quarter.
• Reigning premier Navarre completed an undefeated home and away season, although, its win over wooden spooner Dunolly wasn’t a blow-out.
The Grasshoppers won by 38 points, 12.19 (91) to 8.5 (53).
Ashley Driscoll kicked three goals for the Grasshoppers to end the season as the MCDFL leading goalkicker with 72.
Josh Driscoll, Jayden Fowkes and Luke Hendy impressed for the Grasshoppers, who not once during the season have trailed at any of the quarter breaks.
Dunolly, which competed valiantly all game against the flag favourites, had good players in David Bilton, Justin Moore, David Jackson and Mitchell Harper (three goals).
• Trentham finished its season by ending a 12-game losing streak in upsetting the finals-bound Talbot.
Having not won a game since round three, the Saints came from 21 points down at half-time to beat the Hawks by 23 points, 14.17 (101) to 12.6 (78).
The Saints grabbed control of the contest in the third quarter when they slammed on nine goals to one.
Luke Whitehouse kicked five goals for the Saints to be one of their best, along with Christopher Whelan, Mark Strickland, Kasey Williams and Lewis Bruton.
Jonathon Arnel, Benjamin Heathcock and Ross Wise were the pick of the players for the Hawks, who will head into their first finals series since 2008 on the back of three losses in a row.
• Maldon ended its season on a high with a 52-point win over Harcourt.
The Bombers - who after losing their first 11 games won three of their last five - prevailed 18.18 (126) to 11.8 (74) in a game where Nicholas McKnight, Josh Pascoe and Tom Cain were their standouts.
Sam Gale, Paul Chaplin and Christopher Ling were the three best for the Lions.
• Royal Park proved no match for Carisbrook in a clash of two finals-bound sides.
Bushy was held goalless until the final quarter as Carisbrook won 19.10 (124) to 3.14 (32).
Jackson Bowen (three goals) and Andrew Lovett played well for the Redbacks, while the outclassed Bushy’s best was Brendan Murdoch.
• Rovers led at every change in a 13.24 (102) to 11.19 (85) victory over Avoca.
David Popovski, Dion Hedger (three goals) and Grant Ryan were pivotal in Rovers’ fourth win of the year.
Coach Adrian Pilgrim, Alec Wiltshire and Taylor Raine battled hard for the Bulldogs, while Murray Bond kicked five goals.