Spurred on by a final-round loss, Diggers Rest fired the first shot of the Riddell District Football League finals campaign.
The Burras, whose only loss of the season came last week, showed more of what their fans are used to seeing in a convincing win against Macedon in Saturday’s qualifying final.
While the scoreboard indicated a tight contest early on, the Burras were in control, just not applying scoreboard pressure.
After half-time, they stepped up a gear as the Cats struggled with injuries and lack of personnel. A 12 goals to four second half sealed a 19.16 (130)-8.9 (57) thumping and a preliminary final spot.
Burras’ coach Shaun Sims said the loss to Sunbury Kangaroos in the final round was exactly what his team had needed going into finals. “I think the players have been waiting for a while,” he said. “The past four or five weeks we’ve been a bit in conservation mode.
“I think last week was the kick they needed. Although we rested some players and played others in different positions, I think it gave us what we needed coming into the finals.”
Having expected for several weeks to face the Cats in the finals’ opening round, Sims said they were well prepared for the task at hand.
“I think the second half today was really strong,” the coach said.
“We sort of knew what we were going to do and I think for the most part we did it well.
“I felt like we were in control of the game for most of it. Even in the first quarter we were controlling parts of the play and areas of the ground, but we weren’t scoring goals.
“We missed opportunities in the first half, but to their credit they didn’t drop their heads. Our pressure stayed up and at times we moved the ball really well, which is what we’re after.
“I know we can’t do that every time, but if you can do it four or five times a quarter you become really hard to play against. We’ll take that in a final any day.”
Jason Williams was the star up forward for the Burras, kicking five goals in a forward line that looked more dangerous than it did for much of the season.
Sims said the Burras still had Luke Smailes and Matthew Krul, out injured, who could possibly return during the finals, along with Sean Egan.
The Burras now face Broadford in a semi- final at Rockbank on Saturday, with a grand final spot on the line.
Sims has sounded a warning to his players. “Broadford’s last 10 or 11 weeks has been as good if not better than anyone else.”