South Morang has put out its best and most important performance of the season in Northern Football League division 3.
A win against finals-bound Laurimar was enough to seal the fourth and last finals spot ahead of Mernda.
The Lions did more than win – they dominated in the 16.17 (113)-9.9 (63) win.
Lions coach Gary Hall said they were keen to make sure they reached the finals on their own terms.
Had the Lions lost, Mernda would have finished fourth courtesy of a final round win against Old Eltham Collegians.
“We didn’t want to rely on anyone else,” Hall said.
“It was a tricky situation [for Laurimar] – whether they went in with a full side and how to approach the game. We had everything to lose.”
After an even first quarter, the Lions kicked five goals to one in the third to open up a lead.
They slightly extended the lead in the third quarter, before kicking the only three goals of the last.
After being heavily beaten in their previous match, Hall was thrilled with how the players responded.
“It was chalk and cheese,” he said. “We knew what was at stake and what we had to do to play finals.
“It was pretty even across the board and we had 30 scoring shots in pretty hard conditions. It was a pretty solid effort “
Alex Colaidis was the target up forward, kicking six goals.
South Morang will face Kilmore in a knock-out semi-final.
Laurimar, which slipped to second, will play Panton Hill in the other semi-final for a spot in the grand final.
Hall knows that anything can happen in finals.
“We go in with confidence behind us,” he said.
“Injury-wise, we’re pretty good and I’m looking forward to it.
“If we turn up like we did yesterday, we will be hard to beat.”
There were mixed emotions for Mernda on Saturday.
The Demons defeated Old Eltham Collegians 13.5 (83)-8.12 (60), but that wasn’t enough to seal a finals berth.
Lalor finished its season with a 24.10 (154)-5.4 (34) loss to Kilmore.
In division 2, Whittlesea had a good win against Thomastown, 11.13 (79)-10.8 (68).
Despite the loss, Thomastown claimed a finals spot with one round remaining. It is two points clear of fifth-placed Diamond Creek, which has the bye in the final round.
Whittlesea is second percentage behind Banyule, which defeated Epping 15.10 (100)-3.5 (23).
MORE NFL NEWS