Thousands streamed through the gates at Newborough on Saturday to watch Thorpdale take on Yinnar in the first Mid Gippsland Football League qualifying final on Saturday.
Determined to buck the 2017 trend after losing both season proper games to Thorpdale, Yinnar burst out of the blocks on its way to record a 12.10 (82) to 10.9 (69) win.
Yinnar started well, putting pressure on the scoreboard to lead 4.2 (26) to 2.1 (13) at the first break.
Thorpdale moved the ball well into the forward line and drew first blood through and Thomas McDermott.
Danny Campbell answered for Yinnar shortly thereafter to put the Magpies one point in front midway through the first.
McDermott hit the scoreboard again for Thorpdale but it wasn’t enough to compete with the Yinnar forward line which stacked on another three goals before quarter-time.
Pickering opened the second term in style for Thorpdale with a goal from a free kick.
Max Renwick and Dean Linton joined the scoreboard honours for Yinnar and another from Liam Visser gave the Magpies a 7.5 (47) to 4.4 (28) lead at the main break.
Yinnar scored the first goal in the opening seconds of the second half and two quick replies for Thorpdale through Max Renwick narrowed the gap.
Riley Flanigan marked directly in front of the goal to score and give Yinnar an 18-point lead at three-quarter time.
Yinnar opened the final term in style, with quick goals to Tyler Chisholm and Jesse Sleswick.
A late goal to Brett Gatehouse brought Thorpdale within seven points, but an answer by Yinnar sealed the Blues’ fate.
Thorpdale playing-coach Nic Brown said the matchup against Yinnar was always going to be a tough one.
“We expected a tough game, with it being a final and coming up against a quality side,” Brown said.
Yinnar playing-coach Jamie Aitken said he was thrilled to get the win despite a valiant fight from Thorpdale late in the game.
“It was a great win. The boys really stood up in some difficult conditions and I’m very happy,” Aitken said.
The Magpies will now face minor premier Yallourn/Yallourn North in the semi-finals while Thorpdale plays Mirboo North.
The old clich goes that finals are won in the third quarter, but that wasn’t the case for Mirboo North yesterday which left its run into the final term.
The Tigers ended reigning premier Newborough’s season in yesterday’s elimination final at Thorpdale Recreation Reserve 14.10 (94) to 9.6 (60).
But the 34-point margin seemed unlikely in what had previously been a close contest, with both teams going into the final term locked at 53-points apiece.
Mirboo North booted six majors to the Bulldogs’ one in the final term to book a date next weekend with Thorpdale, which lost its qualifying final to Yinnar.
The Tigers were quick out of blocks in the first term, booting five majors to Newborough’s one, to take a 5.2 (32) to 1.2 (8) quarter-time lead.
The Bulldogs roared back in the second, booting four to their opponent’s one to reduce the deficit to four points at the main change.
By three-quarter-time the scores were locked at 8.5 (53).
When the final siren went, Tiger Brayden Wilson had booted four goals which proved enough to be named best-on-ground.
Mat Slattery booted five of Newborough’s nine, while Josh Hecker was named his team’s best.