By Hayley Wildes
In Division 2 of the Southern Football League, Keysborough almost pulled off one of the great comebacks against Highett in their preliminary final on Saturday but fell agonisingly short.
The Burras will be kicking themselves about their slow start that saw them trail by 39 points at the first break. Highett had come to play and Keysborough was left reeling, but the second quarter was the start of a spirited Burras fightback.
As Cory Hargreaves (three goals) got heavily involved, Keysborough fought tooth and nail for every ball, reducing the margin to 29 points at the main break.
The third quarter was again won by the Burras and at the final break, they were just 20 points adrift, courtesy of the likes of Riet Pal and Michael Downie.
In a back and forth final quarter, it was on for young and old and when Chris Bryan kicked his third goal of the quarter – and sixth for the match – the Burras trailed by just four points with eight minutes to play.
The final few minutes of the game were frantic as Keysborough searched for the match-winning goal, but a late Ed Turner major gave Highett some breathing room and they held on for a 14.15 (99) to 14.4 (88) win.
Highett moves onto the grand final and will face the Doveton Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
In Division 3, after a magical home and away season, Hampton Park was bundled out of the finals in straight sets.
After a tight and tough first half, Endeavour Hills produced an eight-goal to three second half to book its place in the grand final.
Byron Hoe and Andrew Vella were sublime for the Falcons as they dominated across the ground, while Jack Besley and Jackson Philpin were best in what was a disappointing end to a promising season for the Redbacks.
Springvale Districts and Endeavour Hills will meet in the grand final on Sunday afternoon.