SEA Lake Nandaly is returning to the North Central league finals for the second year in a row after securing fourth spot with its win over St Arnaud on Saturday.
The Tigers needed to win to keep hold of fourth spot and they did so by 19 points – 10.15 (75) to 8.8 (56).
St Arnaud was also still a chance of making finals going into the last round, but after Wedderburn pulled off a major upset against Birchip-Watchem, a Saints’ victory would have ultimately proven to be in vain.
The Tigers led at every change in a game where they were unable to capitalise on their chances in the first half before straightening up.
The Tigers had an off-target 3.12 on the board at half-time, before they found their radar in the second half, adding 7.3.
Kyle Brasser, Billy McInnes and ruckman Ryan O’Sullivan were best for the Tigers, who had veteran Jordan Doering kick four goals.
While they would be disappointed to fall short of a finals berth having spent 10 of the 16 rounds in the top four, the Saints’ six wins was a vast improvement on last year’s tally of just one.
• It was a bittersweet ending to the season for Wedderburn.
The Redbacks caused a boilover when they defeated Birchip-Watchem by eight points, but it wasn’t enough to force their way into the top four and they had to instead settle for fifth.
The Redbacks won 12.8 (80) to 10.12 (72) to become the first team to sing their club song this year after playing the Bulls.
While the ladder shows the Bulls having lost four games, three of those matches – one of which was against the Redbacks in round two – they had won before retrospectively having their score annulled to zero for player points breaches.
The Bulls had led at the first three changes, before Wedderburn kicked 2.6 to 0.1 in the final term to give club stalwart Robert Tonkin a victory in his 200th.
• Wycheproof-Narraport warmed up for the finals series with its biggest win of the home and away season.
The Demons – who finished on top of the ladder for the third year in a row – belted wooden-spooner Boort by 89 points, 18.15 (123) to 5.4 (34).
The Demons’ quarter-time score of 5.6 was already more than what the Magpies kicked for the game.
The Demons had 10 players kick goals, while Rohan Nolan and Richard Tibbett kicked two goals each as the Magpies ended a tough season with an eighth loss in a row.
• The finals-bound Donald won a dour contest against Charlton by six points.
Just 11 goals were kicked for the game as the Royal Blues came from 12 points down at three quarter-time to win 6.12 (48) to 5.12 (42) and spoil the 200th game for Charlton’s Aaron Walklate, who was one of this team’s best players.
The Royal Blues will now turn their attention to the first semi-final next Saturday against Sea Lake Nandaly at Wycheproof.
• Meanwhile in the Maryborough-Castlemaine District league, Maldon climbed from 10th to 8th to book its first finals appearance since 2013.
Maldon defeated Campbells Creek 15.19 (109) to 5.4 (34) in their Peter Cole Cup match and was able to leapfrog over the top of Lexton, which had entered the final round eighth, and Avoca to grab the last spot in the finals on percentage.
Maldon will join reigning premier Carisbrook, Natte Bealiba, Talbot, Harcourt, Navarre, Trentham and Royal Park in the finals.
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