Williamstown has kick-started its Victorian Football League finals campaign with a runaway 45-point win over Casey Demons at Burbank Oval on Saturday.

The Seagulls were challenged in the third quarter, but the minor premiers responded to boot eight of the last nine goals of the match.

The Seagulls set the game up with a seven-goal-to-two second-quarter blitz.

Their lead at half-time was a chunky 36 points, but with the wind favouring one end, the Demons were always going to give the hosts something to think about with a big third quarter.

Holding a slender one-point advantage at the last change, Williamstown made full use of the wind in the final term to register a comfortable win and move directly to the preliminary final.

Arryn Siposs (five goals) and San Dunell (four) have struck a rich vein of form in attack for the Seagulls. Siposs was named best-on-ground.

Lachlan Schultz, Nick Meese and Billy Myers were the other standout Seagulls. Meese had 58 hit-outs – all in a day’s work for the competition’s premier ruckman not AFL-listed.

Willie Wheeler had a team-high 28 disposals to go with eight tackles and eight inside-50s for the Seagulls.

Williamstown will await the winner of the Port Melbourne and Footscray semi-final.

Footscray survived a scare in the elimination final, beating Essendon by five points in a classic at Fortburn Stadium on Sunday.

Key forward Tom Boyd was outstanding for the Bulldogs with four goals, including a stunning set shot goal kicking into the breeze from 50 metres out. Clay Smith played like a man possessed in the midfield with 19 disposals, including seven inside-50s and two goals.

Footscray will return to Fortburn Stadium on Sunday to face Port Melbourne.