SANDHURST has booked the first spot in the BFNL A-grade grand final with a polished nine-goal win over Golden Square at the QEO.
The Dragons made it 3-0 against the Bulldogs this season with their 61-52 victory on Saturday night and will contest their first grand final since 2012.
Meanwhile, Golden Square will get a second chance to qualify for the 2017 season premiership decider when it plays Gisborne, which overcame reigning premiers Kangaroo Flat in Sunday’s first semi-final.
The Bendigo-based Bulldogs are chasing a fourth-straight grand final appearance.
Sandhurst will be aiming for its first A-grade premiership since 2007, when coached by Jannaya Webb.
The Dragons will enter the contest as deserved favourites following a dominating season that has contained just the one loss.
Their win over the Bulldogs was built on a commanding first half.
The Dragons, with Bec Smith and Kelsey Meade working brilliantly in tandem in the goal circle, were able to establish an 18-12 goal lead at the opening break.
Meade finished the quarter with 10 goals, while Smith slotted eight as the Dragons translated their dominance across the court onto the scoreboard.
The Dragons rammed home their advantage in the second quarter and extended their lead by a five goals and head to the main break 32-21 ahead.
Golden Square was unable to make any inroads into the lead into the third quarter as both teams posted 13 goals.
The contest ended in a flurry of goals as the Bulldogs outscored the Dragons 18-16 in the final term but to no avail.
It was the closest the Bulldogs have come to Sandhurst this season, following 26 and 22 goal losses during the home and away season.
But a well-coached and committed Dragons have been resolute in their bid for a grand final berth this season and thoroughly deserve to be the first team through to the premiership decider.
The win capped a huge Saturday for Sandhurst after its A-reserve and B-grade teams also advanced to grand finals.
Meanwhile, Kangaroo Flat’s season is over following a 38-51 loss to Gisborne.
The Bulldogs led by five goals at quarter time and increased their lead at every break to set up a rematch with Golden Square, following their qualifying final loss the previous weekend.
The Roos finish the season in fourth place.
Maryborough will be part of the grand final day action after the Magpies’ 17-and-under team upstaged Golden Square to win their semi-final 64-43.