HORSHAM Saints kept Minyip-Murtoa scoreless in the second quarter to set themselves up for a somewhat surprising victory.
The Saints won the Wimmera Football League reserve premiership, when at the start of the year they were almost written off to make finals football in 2017.
They won Saturday’s game 11.9 (75) to 8.6 (54).
It was the third quarter that all but decided the game for the Saints. They managed to kick three goals to the Burras’ one.
Connor O’Beirne had a stellar game for the Saints, grabbing two important goals and putting opposition players under immense pressure. O’Beirne was named best on ground.
Saints co-coach Dennis Hobbs said it was an amazing feeling to win the premiership after all the doubt at the beginning of the 2017 campaign.
“Eight weeks ago, I would have said we would be doing well to make the fourth or fifth spot. To win all the way through to the granny and then to win it… It’s hard to explain,” he said.
Hobbs said returning numbers helped the team during the finals series.
“A couple of senior players dropped down that were slow to start in the year. They helped a lot,” he said.
“They did seem to play better in the past couple of games coming into the finals.
“All of a sudden their commitment lifted by 50 per cent.”
Hobbs said the windy weather at Dimboola was always going to be an issue.
“We predicted the wind would get stronger as the day went on, which it did,” he said. “We kicked into the breeze, we had to hang on for that and have a go with the wind in the second (quarter).
“We moved Gavin Kelm into the forward to strengthen the forward line with the wind and it worked well.”
Hobbs said O’Beirne would be a senior footballer in 2018.
“He played seniors this year. I love those fellas coming through and watching them progress into the seniors,” he said.
“I was absolutely rapt with his game today. He did everything we asked.
“He had to hold the ball into the forward line, his tackling was ferocious, pulled down a big bloke and you can’t let him loose because he’ll kick a goal on you.”
Burras co-coach Jake Kuchel said the Saints were simply harder at the contest than his team was.
“They just out lasted us a bit better,” he said.
“That third quarter really let us down, kicking with the wind, but it is what it is.”