SUNBURY’S remarkable 18-year finals streak lives on after a stunning 97-point win over Lake Wendouree on Saturday.
The Lions scraped into the finals by percentage alone to keep their perfect Ballarat Football League record alive, at the same time keeping a desperately unlucky East Point side out of the finals.
The thumping Lions victory meant they leap-frogged East Point to snare the final spot in the top six, edging the Kangaroos out by fewer than four percentage points.
It was a dramatic end to an unpredictable BFL season that had the Sunbury faithful scrambling for their calculators to figure out if they had qualified for finals.
In the end, Sunbury qualified with about eight goals up its sleeve over East Point, courtesy of its 16-goal win over the finals-bound Lakers.
East Point pulled off an upset of its own by beating Darley by five points at Darley Park, but ultimately it was not enough.
Bacchus Marsh also fell short of its first finals appearance since 1999, losing to North Ballarat City by 53 points to surrender sixth position on the ladder, which it held heading into the final round.
Lions coach Rick Horwood said maintaining the club’s record of never missing finals in the BFL made it a monumental achievement for his club.
Sunbury has not missed finals since it joined the league in 1997.
“The pressure was huge this week, we had our own members telling us we hadn’t missed finals in 17 years of footy,” an emotional Horwood said after the game.
“Was it a pipedream at the start of the year? Yes it was. I hate to say it, but did I believe it could happen? No, I didn’t.
“I’m elated for the boys, I’m elated for the club.”
The result sets up an elimination final clash with Ballarat on Sunday at Eastern Oval, with Darley and Lake Wendouree to battle it out in the other elimination final at Darley Park.
Top two sides North Ballarat City and Redan will clash in a qualifying final at Eastern Oval on Sunday.