AT three quarter-time of Sunday's Loddon Valley league elimination final between Maiden Gully YCW and Calivil United the stage was set for another cliff-hanger between the two sides.
Less than a kick had separated the Eagles and Demons in their two home and away matches and Sunday's margin at the final change was just one point in favour of Calivil United.
But with the game - and their seasons - on the line, it was the Eagles who finished the game far stronger, kicking 7.0 to 1.2 in the final quarter to pull away and win by 33 points, 14.7 (91) to 8.10 (58), in tough conditions at Pyramid Hill.
The victory advances the Eagles to next Sunday's first semi-final against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
Just like he was in last year's qualifying final win over Pyramid Hill when he booted seven goals, Eagles' coach Wayne Mitrovic was again a dominant presence inside 50 for his side.
Having been reappointed as coach for a third season on Thursday night, but also announcing this will be his guaranteed last year as a player, the 41-year-old again relished the big stage, bagging six goals.
But Mitrovic was quick to brush aside his contribution, instead praising the work of his defenders and midfield group led by Galen Munari, Dylan Morris and Brayden Aitken.
"The game opened up for us in the last quarter, but I thought our backline was outstanding in the way they were able to cut off across half-back and repel for us," Mitrovic said.
"But overall, to be in a real fight at three quarter-time when you're playing for your season and to win the way we did, that's a real positive."
The Demons were best served by forward Michael Cooke and the tall timber duo of Nick Higginson and William Jeffs (three goals), who was Calivil United's only multiple goalkicker.
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