A stunning turnaround from South Morang has seen the Lions win through to the Northern Football League division 3 grand final.
The Lions season looked just about over after a loss to Old Eltham Collegians in the third last round, but the Lions have won four games in a row to win through the decider.
Lions coach Gary Hall said his playing group was excited.
“We look back a few weeks against Eltham and we wondered what was going on,” he said.
“Next week we’re playing in a grand final.
“We’ve had some hard times of late. In 2017, we lost the grand final and then lost 11 blokes out of that side.
“Last year, we managed to make a preliminary final and then lost another four players.”
Hall said the biggest change in the past few weeks had been in mental application.
He said that with a young playing group, there were bound to be lapses in concentration.
Most of the players have come through the Lions’ junior program.
“When I took over, I wanted to make sure the local boys kept coming through and having a crack first,” hall said.
“It’s the only way to sustain a club. They want to play for their mates and play for each other.
“When they get it right they are good, when they’re not it’s like they’ve lost the plot.
“We’ve got some momentum and it’s showing with the results.”
On Saturday, the Lions beat Laurimar in a preliminary final at Whittlesea Showgrounds.
The two teams met in the final round of the season, with the Lions winning that one by 50 points.
This time it was much closer, with the Lions winning 12.15 (87)-11.11 (77).
Hall said it was a good match.
“We dominated for the most part of the game, but it got tight there in the end,” he said.
“They would get a goal or two to keep in close.
“Being young, we can make silly mistakes, but the positive thing is, nothing gets to them.”
Luke Shelton and Tye Hall kicked three goals each.
Hall said Mitch Kalpakis at centre-half back and Nathan Bell in the middle kept their composure late when it was needed.
He said that for a third week in a row, there had been a real even spread of contributions across the board.
“It’s how you win finals,” he said.
The Lions will face Panton Hill in the grand final.
Panton Hill victories in both match-ups between the sides this season.
Hall was quick to point out that finals were a different story, with all three finals matches having been close.
“Panton Hill are the best team,” he said.
“They are the right age group, the right experience and they are a big side.
“We’re little old South Morang. We are a small side that uses the wide open spaces and they are a big strong marking sides.
“It’s two very different sides.”