DIGGERS Rest suffered its first loss of the season, Wallan climbed into the top six after a massive percentage-boosting win and Riddell copped a belting in a drama-filled finish to the Riddell District Football League home-and-away season on Saturday.
Having won 15 straight matches, minor premier Diggers Rest got a wake-up call on the eve of finals as it went down to a desperate Sunbury Kangaroos side by 16 points, 10.7 (67) to 7.9 (51), at Bloomdale Oval.
Needing victory to be a chance of finishing in the top six, the Kangaroos barely gave an inch as they applied relentless pressure on a flat Burras outfit in a hard-fought, contested game.
With Lancefield — which had sat sixth on the ladder on percentage entering the weekend — suffering a 14-point loss to Romsey, Sunbury Kangaroos’ win would ordinarily have been enough to secure sixth position.
However, Wallan — which sat 13.75 per cent behind the Kangaroos before the round — belted bottom-side Rockbank 49.28 (322) to 4.8 (32) to add 24.93 per cent to its tally and stamp its finals ticket, the result leaving it 10.21 per cent ahead of the Kangaroos.
Riddell was set to be the sixth-placed side’s opponent in the opening week of finals, but the Bombers dropped to fourth after a shock 57-point loss to Rupertswood.
Broadford took third spot after downing Melton Centrals by 43 points, leaving Rupertswood in fifth.
Already locked in to finish second, Macedon defeated Woodend-Hesket by 29 points in the weekend’s other match.
After a thrilling finale to the regular season, the action only heats up this weekend as finals kick off.
Diggers Rest — which has finished runner-up the past three years — remains firm favourite for the flag despite its surprise loss at the weekend and is confident it can hit back against Macedon in Saturday’s qualifying final.
“We can pretty much wipe (Saturday’s) game and wipe the rest of the season because everything starts again now,” Burras coach Shaun Sims said.
“They (Macedon) are just a pretty even team really but they’ve got some real game-changers in their side that on their day can do some pretty special things.
“So if we’re not right on our game, we won’t come away with the win, that’s for sure.”
Also on Saturday, Riddell and Rupertswood will do battle in an elimination final while Broadford meets Wallan in the other cutthroat final on Sunday.