ELEVEN months after Birregurra’s 2011 premiership victory against South Colac, the Saints have again claimed a thrilling three-point win against the Roos.
The modern-day rivals provided entertainment for the hundreds of spectators who gathered at Joiner Reserve with the match going down to the final minutes.
The Roos trailed by three goals heading into the final term and coach Stephen Hammond’s decision to shift Josh Goonan into the forward line proved damaging, with the tall utility booting successive goals to give his team the lead.
Saints hard-nut Cam Wright goaled from the netball-court end to regain the lead which the Saints held onto despite chances to Roo Shaun Harrington and Saint Lewis Melican to steal or seal the win.
The 8.11 (59) to 8.8 (56) win cements Birregurra’s place in the top three with a bye next round, and the Saints will face Lorne in the qualifying final on August 18.
Birregurra coach Paul Lynch said the team would begin its preparation for finals.
“We’re in finals now and we’ve got the double chance so we’ll have a decent crack but we know we’ve still got things to work on,” he said.
“As everyone’s saying there isn’t much difference between the top five teams, it’s a year I think a team can genuinely win it from fifth spot, so we could go out in straight sets or we could go all the way – footy’s a strange game,” he said.
The Saints showed how much improvement they had made since the first round of matches, with Saturday’s three-point win a stark contrast to their 50-point loss to South Colac in round six.
“I rated South Colac extremely highly at the start of this season, they’ve got very good depth and a classy midfield and obviously a couple of good forwards, so my opinion hasn’t changed,” Lynch said.
“They’ll still be hard to handle so we’re happy we won’t have to come up against them in the first round of finals.”
Saints Tom Grayling, Pat Nolan and Ben Lynch controlled the ball around stoppages while Goonan, Dave Marendaz and Daniel Roberts were the Roos’ best.
Forrest survives fright from Hawks
FORREST is guaranteed a week off in the first round of finals despite a scare from Apollo Bay.
The Lions sit six points clear on top of the Colac district football ladder with one game left of the season following their 12.10 (82) to 8.10 (58) win against the Hawks.
Apollo Bay kicked five of the first six goals and led by 11 points at half time.
Alvie coach says Lorne is team to beat
ALVIE coach Murray Williamson has declared Lorne as the side to beat.
The Swans have come off losses to finals contenders Forrest and Simpson in recent weeks, and face South Colac this weekend, but Williamson said his team had few answers for the charging Dolphins which won 22.10 (142) to 11.6 (72).
Tigers finding form as finals loom
SIMPSON footballers have continued to build momentum towards finals with a victory against Irrewarra-Beeac.
The Tigers have won three in a row since a pair of losses to finals contenders Birregurra and South Colac.
Simpson defeated the Bombers, 14.13 (97) to 8.5 (53) and heads to Western Oval this week to take on Colac Imperials in its last game before finals.
Fifth straight win for Colac Imperials
COLAC Imperials have registered their fifth consecutive victory this season after defeating an inaccurate Western Eagles line-up.
The Eagles booted 10 behinds before Dillyn Fedley sent through their first and only goal in the final term as the Imps proved difficult to contain.
The Imps had nine individual goalkickers in the 14.13 (97) to 1.12 (18) victory.
Full reviews and results appear in the Colac Herald newspaper.