COWWARR has sent a message to the remaining three sides in the premiership hunt after recording a five-point victory over Glengarry yesterday in North Gippsland finals football.
However, in a strange set of circumstances, the Saints took the foot off the pedal in the final term.
Trailing by 37 points at the final change, the Magpies booted six goals to one to fall just short at the final siren, 12.8 (80) to 11.9 (75).
Failing to trouble the scoreboard in a goaless opening term, the going did not get any easier in the second term for Glengarry as it struggled to contain the Saints.
The Magpies’ defence struggled to contain Chris Stasinowsky, David Ivey, Shane Morgan and Brad McBride as the Saints damaging forward line slammed home six goals to two.
Cowwarr slammed home two unanswered goals ahead of the quarter-time siren, and despite its opponent’s quick run forward, the Magpies were unable to execute the start they wanted.
Glengarry’s Josh King opened the Magpies’ scoring with a shot on the run 30 metres out from goal at the six-minute mark of the term.
But it was quickly answered by Ivey who took a mark in front to score a minute later.
Brett Street added another for the Saints, which left the Magpies rattled.
Robbie Cahill, Lachlan Little and Josh Piper tried to lift the side through the middle of the ground, but the Magpies could do little to break the Saints’ defensive line.
King replied to the Saints’ three unanswered majors, but further goals in the late stages of the term looked set to declare the contest all but over at the half-time break.
Cowwarr extended its margin at every change, with a goal to Brendan Smith on the three-quarter-time siren granting the Saints a six-goal buffer.
However, the Saints unassailable lead quickly dwindled away in the final term with King scoring in the opening seconds of the fourth.
Shaun Barnes ran onto the ball to add another as the Magpies mounted a last gasp challenge.
The Magpies trailed by 11 points in the closing stages of the contest and dominated the inside 50 count for the term.
A kick after the siren to King gave the key forward his fifth, but it was not enough to keep the Magpies in the premiership race.
Heyfield handed coach Adrian Cox his first finals victory after the Kangaroos overpowered two-time reigning premiers Sale City by 39 points in Saturday’s North Gippsland qualifying final.
Led by Brenton Dinsdale, Daniel Saunders and experienced campaigners Dave Kelly and Cox in a defining premiership quarter, the Kangroos’ made their mark turning a two point half-time deficit into a 16-point lead at the final change of ends.
Nathan Wellins and Bret Szabo were the standouts in front of goal, booting five and four majors respectively.
The duo scored consecutive goals in the second half that set the tone for the victors.
In their first finals appearance in more than two seasons, the Kangaroos registered the first major about five minutes into the contest.
It was one-way traffic early with the Kangaroos packing numbers around the stoppages, and their rovers read the taps better than the Dogs as they pumped the ball into a wide open forward line.
Jesse Bedggood opened proceedings for Heyfield before Szabo slotted through his first for the match minutes later.
Sale City peppered away at the sticks but missed its opening two shots at goal.
At the other end of the ground the Kangaroos kicked strongly in front of goal, with Jesse Leeds making it three unanswered majors as City failed to make an impact on the scoreboard.
The reigning premiers found their feet in the second quarter after Byron Shingles opened his side’s account in the first minute; this was followed by another quick reply.
But as swiftly as City found the scoreboard and mounted a challenge Heyfield responded, with Leeds slotting home the Kangaroos’ fourth to push the margin back out to two kicks.
City added another before play concentrated between the two half-back lines as neither side was able to make an impact in front of goals.
City’s Nick Hider broke the strangle hold with his kick into the forward line hitting the chest of Joel Brayshaw who went back to register his first of three.
Brayshaw gathered the loose ball to snap at goal to bring the margin back to five points.
Michael Walsh celebrated his first as the Dogs hit the front for the first time in the contest at the 26-minute mark of the quarter.
The Dogs slammed home five goals for the term, with three unanswered in the late stages of the half.
The Kangaroos were well held in the second quarter but mounted a challenge in the opening minutes of the second half.
It took about 10 minutes for City to break the tide, before Leeds was at it again with his second handing Heyfield a 16-point lead at three-quarter-time.
The final quarter was a one-sided affair. Wellins registered two more majors in the final quarter to help Heyfield to a 13.17 (95) to 7.14 (56) victory.