Deer Park was the surprise packet of the Bowls Victoria premier division regular season.
Having reached the finals after being widely tipped to endure a relegation battle, the Lions are now out to prove they are not merely make up the finals numbers.
The Lions came out and won their first cut-throat final on Saturday at Doncaster, toppling third-placed Clayton 82-73 to suddenly be one win away from an unlikely grand final appearance.
Lions president Neil Cromie was over the moon after the victory.
“It’s sensational,” he said.
“It’s been a brilliant performance.
“We had four sides in finals and three of them won, so it’s been a great day for the club.”
Deer Park rode its luck against Clayton, taking the overall win despite claiming just one rink.
It was a mammoth victory in Brett Mahoney’s rink that saw the Lions advance.
Mahoney won by a runaway 40-8, which papered over the losses in the other three rinks.
“We had one rink absolutely demolish the other mob,” Cromie said.
“More importantly, the other rinks hung in there, so that margin never blew out.
“We came from a fair way back, I think we were 11 or 12 back at one stage.
“The others all did what they needed to do to keep the margin close, so the rink dominating can pull that little bit further away and make a difference in the end.”
Mahoney’s quartet of Paul Wellington, Adam Berry and Ray Morrissey were outstanding.
Mahoney himself is enjoying a sensational summer, both locally with Deer Park and with the Victorian state side.
“Brett’s had a sensational season,” Cromie said. “He played last week for the state against SA, where they had a win as well.
“He’s very confident in his own abilities and can play the shots that he wants to play given the situations.
“If he needs to be aggressive, he can do it, if he needs to draw a shot, he can do it.
“The level of his bowls has improved as the season has gone on.”
Deer Park has set up a battle of the west preliminary final with minor premiers Altona, who lost to grand final-bound Melbourne at the weekend.
The Lions have proven they can beat the A’s, but not many will be expecting them to do so in the pressure cooker of a one-off finals.
Cromie will give one guarantee – if Altona wants to reach the finals, they will need to bring their best to overcome his hungry pack of Lions.
“It’s 1-1 so far this season against Altona,” Cromie said. “The one that a lot of people have dreaded is still a chance, if we beat Altona we’re playing the Premier final here at home.
“They didn’t expect us to make the finals, let alone win one, so what have we got to lose from here?”