SUNBURY is through to its third Ballarat Football League grand final in a row after once again beating arch rivals Redan.
In a genuine arm wrestle of a second semi final at Eastern Oval today, it was the reigning premiers that flexed their muscle in the second half to run out 12.15 (87) to 7.15 (57) winners.
The majority of the match was a typical clash between the two Lions' of the BFL.
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At one stage during the second and third quarters, more than 30 minutes ticked by where neither side kicked a goal.
Earlier, the reigning premiers had threatened to crack the game open.
After absorbing the initial maroon and gold onslaught in which Redan established a 15-point lead within 10 minutes, Sunbury slammed on six consecutive goals and led by four goals at the start of the second quarter.
But then something changed.
Redan clicked into gear, kicking three goals in seven minutes to cut the margin to two points.
All of a sudden the ledger was squared and that's where it remained for more than a quarter.
Aaron Gercovich added extra spice to arguably his best game for Redan by putting his side in front by four points.
Redan's lead should in fact have been greater had it taken advantage of its opportunities.
But the last three minutes of the final term would prove telling.
As each side tried to pin its opponent down, it was the Eastern Lions that broke the shackles in the dying moments of the third quarter to establish a handy 10 point buffer at the final break.
Dale Cuinik intercepted a kick by Redan ruckman Brett Dickinson and converted accordingly.
A goal at the death by Ryan Monzell then saw Sunbury establish a 10 point lead but, more importantly, head into the deciding term with all the momentum.
And it showed.
Sunbury statistics showed the blue and white had 46 contested possessions to Redan's 21 in the last quarter, as the reigning premiers stormed to a 30-point victory.
Having advanced through to their third grand final in as many years, Sunbury coach Rick Horwood paid testament to the character of his troops.
"I'm just rapt for the playing group after all the hard work they've done, it's probably been the toughest year of the three years. It's been really hard to get to this point," Horwood said.
"Good teams back it up and we've given ourselves the opportunity, but that's all it is at the moment - an opportunity.
"We've got quality leadership at this club with a really good mix of youth."
Sunbury now has a week off, with two weeks to prepare for the grand final.
"We won last year when we had the break, we lost the year before when we didn't have the break. That's got to play on the psyche of the playing group," Horwood said.
Sunbury has now now not lost to Redan in the last seven meetings between the pair.
"I think the respect we've got for Redan, we know they're always going to come back," Horwood said.
"I think we concentrate better against them, because we know they will keep working right till the end. You can't take your foot off the pedal with these blokes."
Although down, Redan is certainly not out.
The Western Lions will be keeping a close eye on tomorrow's match between North City and Darley, with the winner to advance to next week's preliminary final against Redan.