NORTH BALLARAT CITY 12.23 (95)
REDAN 12.8 (80)
REDAN threw everything at North Ballarat City, but the reigning premiers still proved too good in the qualifying final at Eastern Oval on Saturday.
In a match that mirrored the previous clash between the two this year, it was Redan that held the ascendancy in the third quarter before getting steam-rolled by North City.
The Lions led by as much as 17 points in the third term and 13 points early in the last quarter, with the Northies uncharacteristically butchering the footy.
However a six-goal blitz in 14 minutes turned the match on its head, as North City jumped out to a 24-point lead.
Redan kicked two late consolation goals to bring the margin back to 15 points, but the result was already on ice.
Earlier in the match, the maroon and gold played an impressive brand of football, kicking four goals towards the canteen end of the ground in the first quarter, which would prove to be the scoring end for the day.
Dean Chester continued to relish in his new role down back, while Jarod Bacon was proving his worth as an outstanding late-season revelation.
A turning point came 10 minutes into the second quarter, when Shaun Lyle took a towering mark over Pat Britt and goaled, injuring Britt in the process.
The number one Redan defender came off the ground with a shoulder injury and did not return to the field.
Coach Eammon Gill said early indications were that the injury was not too bad, although it would be unlikely Britt would play next week.
North City added a further two goals in the next six minutes with Ayden George and Marc Greig converting, despite the black and whites missing a number of chances.
A late goal to Redan's Bacon at the 30-minute mark cut the margin to just two points at the main break and when he dribbled through his third goal in the opening minute of the third quarter, the Lions were in front.
In a period of brilliance, Bacon kicked another major (his fourth for the day) before earning a downfield free kick, which Grant Bell converted.
Bell had another two set shots to extend Redan's margin beyond 20 points, but was unable to convert.
Marcus Darmody finally managed to find the big sticks for North City late in the quarter after a number of his teammates had proved innacurate, but when Derick Micallef kicked his set shot into the man on the mark on the three-quarter time siren, there was a sense it was Redan's day.
Brenton Riordan extended the buffer to 13 points three minutes into the last quarter, but it was all one-way traffic from that point onwards, with North kicking six in a row.
For North City, Tristan Cartledge had one of his better days for the year, while Darmody and Brendan Howard were both highly effective.
In addition to Bacon and Chester, Cal Currie shone for the Lions, with Hayden Riley setting up a lot of drive off half back.
North City coach Rob Waters was pleased with the win but insisted there were a lot of areas that needed improvement.
"Some of our good players just had shocking days," he said.
"We had to do a couple of things we didn't want to do, we had to use a couple of things we had up our sleeve and it worked."
"The boys stuck to the task and it was ugly, but you've got to win ugly sometimes and we'll take that every day of the week.
"We've got good fitness, we're the fittest team in Ballarat but we just weren't using the ball well."
Redan coach Eammon Gill said he his side lacked efficiency and was once again hurt by a good side in a short amount of time.
"I thought when we got the footy late in that last quarter and were only three goals down, there was no braveness with the ball," he said.
North City will play the highest-ranked winner out of Sunday's elimination finals, while Redan will play the lowest ranked winner in a knockout match next week.