CHARLTON made a winning return to North Central league finals action in a shortened first semi against Donald on Saturday.
The game at Birchip was held up for about an hour following a sickening head clash in a marking contest between Donald ruckman Matt Coleman and Charlton's Riely Thiesz just before half-time.
With the game facing a lengthy delay waiting for an ambulance to attend to the knocked out Coleman, there was the prospect of both teams being forced to replay the match the following week.
However, league officials met with the coaches and presidents of both clubs where it was agreed that once it was re-started the game would be completed with two 15-minute quarters plus time-on.
The Navies, playing in their first final since 2016, were leading 4.6 to 3.5 when play was halted and then kicked six goals to three after the resumption to win 10.9 (69) to 6.5 (41), with the final siren sounding at 5.20pm.
"Commonsense prevailed with the shortening of the game in the second half given we were at one stage looking like having to come back next week," said Charlton coach Kain Robins, who kicked four goals and was one of the Navies' best players.
"It was obviously very strange there for a while not knowing if we would be continuing the game or not, so we kept ourselves warm."
Coleman spent Saturday night in Bendigo Hospital.
"All his results have come back clear, so that's good, but he's got a really bad concussion," Donald coach Pat Purcell said.
The Royals' 28-point loss was their third defeat in a first semi-final in the past four years.
Donald had been within two points at three quarter-time before the Navies kicked away late to win comfortably.
"That has been a bit of a story of our year... we can match it with the best when we play our style of footy, but when we have lapses we get scored against heavily," said Purcell, who was among Donald's best players.
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