Diggers Rest is through to the Riddell District Football League grand final, but not without suffering some tense moments on Saturday.
The Burras were the better side early on in the preliminary final against Macedon, before the Cats stepped it up in the second half and looked like they might steal the win.
The Burras regained the lead with about four minutes left in the final term, staying there for a 10.8 (68)-9.12 (66) victory.
Burras playing-coach Jamie Lobb said they always thought, from the start of the year, that they could get to a grand final.
“We’ve flown under the radar a bit this year,” he said. “We dropped some matches we shouldn’t have dropped. We have known within the club that our best 22 can match it with anyone.
“We’re happy and relieved to get there. We’ve lost close games like that during the year – it’s good to know we can win a close one.”
After a brilliant first half on Saturday in which they led by 37 points, the Burras were a different team in the second half. For Lobb, it wasn’t a situation he was happy about.
“We should have been further ahead,” he said.
“We came out after half-time reactive and flat-footed. We should have never been in that situation at the end.
“We were a couple of rotations down and we had our backs to the wall, but we were still able to get the job done.”
Lobb, Mathew Medcraft and Thomas Taylor kicked two goals each for the Burras.
Taylor Hine was again brilliant, while Stuart Clarke shone on his return from injury.
Lobb said it was encouraging knowing that someone like Hine was making a habit of standing up on the big occasions.
The win was soured by injuries to Stephen Ruane and Andrew Tyquin.
Ruane had to go to hospital to get stitches, while Tyquin hurt his shoulder.
Lobb said it was too early to tell if the pair would play in the grand final against Riddell this week. If both end up playing, Lobb said it would be as close to a full-strength side as they would get. Jesse Flannery, Clarke and Cole Laurie all returned from injuries at the weekend.
Lobb said Mark Freeth would miss the grand final, while Brent Tuckey was unlikely to get up.
“Saturday was the closest we’ve been to full strength since round four,” he said.
The Burras and Riddell met in the semi-finals, with the Bombers proving too strong on that occasion.
It’ll be a second grand final in three years between the two teams, with Diggers Rest winning the 2016 grand final in extra time.
Lobb said they would have to look at doing something different to the tactics used two weeks ago in the semi-final with Riddell.
The senior team is one of three Burras’ sides through to grand finals.
The reserves side defeated Rupertswood and will play Wallan in the grand final, while the C-grade netballers defeated Macedon to win through to a second straight decider.
Lobb said it was good reward for the efforts across the whole club.
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