GOLDEN Square avoided a final round upset at the hands of Castlemaine with a strong third quarter at Camp Reserve on Saturday.
The Magpies were in with a genuine shot of beating the Bulldogs for the first time since 2005 when they trailed by just two points at half-time.
However, the Bulldogs responded to the challenge, unleashing a 6.9 to 0.0 third quarter to set up the 12.18 (90) to 11.6 (72) win.
It was only that 30 minutes in the third term that was the difference between the two sides, with Castlemaine finishing with five goals in the final quarter, while keeping the Bulldogs goalless to cut the final deficit to 18 points.
“Our first half was patchy and we took a while to get into the game,” Bulldogs coach Nick Carter said.
“But in the third quarter the defensive pressure of the guys was huge and probably the best quarter of tackling we’ve had in the second half of the year.
“To Castlemaine’s credit, they kept coming at us in the last quarter and we didn’t finish the way we hoped we would, but we don’t want to dwell on that heading into another finals series.”
Golden Square’s best were ruckman Matt Compston, midfielder Jack Geary and Jaydon Cowling.
The Magpies’ standouts were skipper Zach Hansford and Jason Cordy, who kicked four goals apiece, and the consistent Jarryd Graham.