Yallourn-Yallourn North has booked a place in next Saturday’s second semi-final after downing favourites Mirboo North in Saturday’s Mid Gippsland qualifying final.
The Bombers took vengeance for their previous two defeats at the hands of the Tigers earlier this year, romping home 11.12 (78) to the Tigers’ 6.6 (42).
The Bombers set up their win with five goals in the first quarter, but it was Mirboo North who opened the scoring with 150-gamer Kris Berchtold scoring a major from the boundary line after just 28 seconds.
But goals for the Tigers were hard to come by as they struggled under constant pressure from their taller opponents.
The Bombers broke away after the Tiger’s first goal and were able to score at a frequent rate, with Dean MacDonald, Tom Hutton and Barry Brooks all playing a dominant role.
The YYN backline was strong with Jack Casson and Owen Budge holding their own against the Mirboo North forwards.
The Bombers were playing in front and reaped the rewards with two first quarter goals each to MacDonald and Tim Phillips and one to Dylan Bath to enter the first break ahead 5.4 (34) to 1.1 (7).
Conditions were good at Boolarra but an ever-changing wind made it hard to pinpoint passes. Mirboo North opened the second term with a goal and it was game on, but the standard dropped as both sides went in hard with strong clashes.
Isaac Abas was strong for the Tigers but his smaller rovers failed to capitalise on his strong ruckwork and Hudson Kerr was a positive presence for the Tigers.
Play went for long periods with the scoreboard untroubled, as constant rollovers made it an end-to-end match.
The Bombers got back into their stride late in the quarter with a brace through MacDonald and Barry Brooks.
By half-time the balance was in YYN’s favour, leading 7.7 (49) to Mirboo North 3.1 (19).
For the third time in the match Mirboo North opened with a goal at the start of the quarter, but it was a real battle later on to get it into its 50 yard zone.
The Tigers’ next goal arrived two minutes before full-time.
Although doing well in the third term, Mirboo North had plenty of possession but was unable to score.
The strong YYN defensive line was almost unbreakable as the Tigers continually went forward only to be repelled.
Two easy goals to YYN, through MacDonald and Tom Hutton, put the Bombers further ahead as the three-quarter siren rang with scores at YYN 9.8 (62) to 5.5 (35).
The final term was a dour struggle as neither team could get a break.
Players popped in and out of play, contested crudely at times and played some ugly football.
YYN maintained its lead and increased its tally after individual efforts by Adam Bailey and Hutton.
But time was running out for Mirboo North as YYN applied and kept the pressure on as the final siren rang out.
Mirboo North will now play Yinnar in the knock-out first semi-final on Sunday.
Best players for YYN were Jack Casson, Bailey, Lachlan Little and Tyler Brown.
MacDonald finished with four goals.
For Mirboo North, Hudson Kerr, Mitchell Wightman, Josh Taylor and Josh Salinger were best from a disappointing team effort.