MDFL - Moyston/Willaura held off a determined Wickliffe/Lake Bolac to qualify for the 2013 Mininera and District Football League grand final after a thrilling one point win at the weekend.
The Pumas led at every change, but almost saw the victory slip away before their very eyes as the Magpies' Andrew Lord took a shot for goal after the siren.
Lord missed and the Pumas prevailed 12.7 (79) to 11.12 (78) to move into the grand final.
After an even first half the Pumas broke the dead lock and kicked away to a five goal lead after halftime.
With just five minutes to go the Magpies began to peg the lead back and after scoring the only goal for the final quarter they were in with a chance.
Magpies' coach Nick Willox said it was a tough loss and the miss after the siren was just as costly as the 11 other behinds throughout the game.
He said it was good to see the team lift after its pressure and intensity dropped in the third quarter.
"Once the game was on the line we upped the tempo, but just couldn't get their in the end," he said.
"They covered the ground well and made us think twice about what we were doing and that isn't something you want, we don't want that doubt in our minds."
Pumas' coach Daniel Guinane said it was a tough game from the first bounce but his team fought well.
"We had one bloke on the bench after halftime, but to our guys credit no one wanted to give up," he said.
"It was just through the sheer determination by all 21 of our blokes that we were able to get there in the end."
Guinane said the last quarter was a real slog.
"There was only one goal scored and the ball moved from end to end, centre half forward to centre half forward," he said.
Guinane said there was a few tense moments after the siren before the realisation Lord had missed and they were through to the big one.
He said the week off will benefit players including Luke Thomas who left the field concussed and Rhys Cronin who copped a heavy knock in the third term.
Guinane said best on ground John Vanderwaal was outstanding after he moved from forward to down back.
"Josh Day was also unbelievable intercepting the ball, he was unstoppable," he said.
Josh Bywater, Josh Price, Matt Peel and Brian Thomas were also named in the best.
Willox said a yellow card to Brad Keilar and later to Michael Otto after an encounter with Pumas' Trent Fiscalini was evidence that at times his side lacked discipline.
All three players were sent from the field, but escaped report.
"Our discipline let us down, we just didn't settle, fumbled the ball a bit and never got our run going," Willox said.
"We always seemed to be playing second to the ball, we got plenty of inside 50s but just couldn't capitalise."
Willox said he though the back line again did its job, while the midfield was good, however the forwards struggled.
Charlie Archer led the Magpies back line to be named among the best, while Willox himself was awarded best on ground.
Jason Quinlivian was also acknowledged in the best along with Aaron Stewart, Otto and Danniel Smith.
The Magpies will now have to regroup and be at their best in next week's preliminary final against Tatyoon after it trounced Glenthompson/Dunkeld by 33 points in the other semi final.
The Hawks made a clear statement early kicking five first quarter goals to their opponents two.
Their accuracy on goal continued in the second quarter as the Hawks piled on another five goals and the Rams fell further behind.
Tatyoon coach Jarrod Blandford said the strong first half of football from his side was particularly encouraging.
"Obviously any win in a final is a good win, but again it was our team's willingness to work as a team, bring each other into the match and support each other as a team," he said.
"Our first half was very good, a five goal first and second quarter kicking in to the breeze was very promising."
The Rams were able to reduce the margin by two goals in the third quarter before the Hawks again kicked away in the last to win 17.7 (109) to 11.10 (76).
Tim McDougall and Tyler Cronin were again stand out performers for the Hawks with Cronin and Aidan Bell kicking four goals each.
Cameron Gellie, Julian Sambell, Arthur Armstrong and Ash Maconachie were also named in the best.
Blandford said the win puts the team in a good position as it prepares for this weekend's preliminary final.
"There are a lot of positives to take out of our last month of football, we now have the self confidence and belief going into this weekend that we can win," he said.
Great Western's reserves remarkable season continued as it moved into the grand final after a convincing 43-point win over Wickliffe/Lake Bolac.
The Lions were slow off the mark as the Magpies kicked to a two goal lead at halftime.
The clock reset in the second term and so did the Lions as they kicked nine second quarter goals stunning their opponents and leaving them with just one point to their name.
The third quarter across the ﬁeld was much tighter with minimal scoring before another couple of late goals from the Lions in the last sealed the deal, they prevailed 12.10 (82) to 5.9 (39).
Captain Matt Delzotto said it was another excellent game of football where the team put together four quarters of good football.
“Our midfield was really good again, guys like Steven Lodge and Craig Cooper in the ruck, our half forward line and just our attack on the ball really made a difference,” he said.
Troy Jenkins, Clinton Slorach, Lachie Kilpatrick and Josh McCartney were also named best aﬁeld for their efforts.
Delzotto said the team will be looking to make the most of the grand ﬁnal berth.
“It is a good reward for the club for their hard work over the last couple of years and if we can just take one more step we will be very satisfied,” he said.
In the under-16 competition Ararat secured a grand ﬁnal spot after a 50 point win against Penshurst.
The Eagles were slow to start with the Bombers taking a one goal lead into quarter time.
Momentum shifted in the second term as the likes of Tom Taurau and
Ben Robertson began to hurt their opposition where it mattered most, on the scoreboard.
The duo kicked eight goals between them and helped to keep Penshurst to just one second half goal as they ran out winners 10.11 (71) to 3.3 (21).
Taurau was again awarded best on ground while Grady Bond, Robertson, Michael Naawi, Jesse Bennett and Brady Mayhew were also named in the best.
Preliminary finals (September 7) at Derrinallum:
Seniors - Wickiliffe/Lake Bolac v Tatyoon
Reserves - Wickliffe/Lake Bolac v Penshurst
Under 16s - Penshurst v Lismore/Derrinallum